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MGM Grand Atlanta?

Last edit: vespajet on Thursday, 2nd July 2015 10:07 am
Last response by vespajet 3rd July 5:49pm

MGM’s pitch for a $1B casino in metro Atlanta

Unfortunately the bulk of the article is behind a paywall. MGM is scouting a few sites in Downtown Atlanta for a possible casino resort. This would be a Las Vegas-style resort and not a VLT casino like some previous casino proposals that have gone down in flames. The problem is that such a casino is not currently legal in Georgia and would require a change to the state's constitution, and there is opposition from the Governor in regards to the expansion of gambling in the state (Although he has approved expansion that benefited the state lottery.). A few years ago, there was a non-binding referendum in the GOP primaries regarding casino gambling that narrowly passed, which gave some supporters of casinos as well as horse racing a boost. One state legislator has already filed a measure for next year's legislative session that is a proposed constitution amendment that would allow the decision to expand gambling in the state to fall to the local governments. The measure wouldn't even need the approval of the Governor, but the Governor could derail efforts to put the proposed amendment up for a statewide vote. MGM has already hired several lobbyists here in Georgia to work on getting something going that would allow them to build a casino in Atlanta. If casinos are legalized in the state in any form, the Georgia Lottery Corporation will likely have involvement in it in one form or another in order to gain approval for casinos. I'm speculating that the GLC will follow the example used up in Ontario, in which the lottery corporation owns the casinos and contracts the management of some of them to other companies for a piece of the pie. Or a certain percentage of casino revenue goes into funding the HOPE Scholarship fund, which is currently funded by the lottery.

It's likely another 7-10 years before a casino resort opens its' doors in this state (It's pretty much expected to happen once the current Governor leaves office in a few years.). Using Massachusetts as an example, it was nearly three years after the law that expanded gaming in the state before the first licenses were awarded. By the time MGM Springfield and Wynn Everett (assuming it even happens) open it, it will be nearly 7 years since the law was passed. So even if the proposed amendment made it on the ballot for next year and passed, it would likely be another year or two before local referendums take place (depending upon the election cycle) and another year or so before they approve a project and at least 2-3 years to build the resort.

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 wpsteel66 responded on Thursday, 2nd July 2015

The Choctaw Indians over in Philly, MS will not like the idea of an Atlanta casino. They do alot of advertising in Atlanta and get many customers from GA. The Indians will throw all kinds of money at people to stop the casinos in GA just like they have been doing for many years here in Alabama to prevent casinos.

 vespajet replied on Thursday, 2nd July 2015

Not to mention that the Eastern Band of the Cherokee and Caesars Entertainment have their casino in Cherokee (Harrah's Cherokee) and will be opening up a second casino (Harrah's Cherokee Valley River) in September about an hour south of Cherokee.

I see more ads here in Atlanta for Wind Creek and Creek Casino over near Montgomery than I do for Pearl River Resort. When Quincy's 777 at Victoryland was open, they advertised heavily in Atlanta as well, especially once the hotel opened. The Golden Moon reopened earlier this year after a renovation project and had been closed for several years because there wasn't enough customers coming to Pearl River to keep both it and the Silver Star open. The renovations are their attempt to win back customers they've lost to the Creeks in Alabama.

 wpsteel66 replied on Friday, 3rd July 2015

The Choctaw ads here in AL say 'We are a real casino' or 'Come play at a real Casino'.
This is true since the Creek casinos just have bingo slots.

They did a nice remodel on the Golden Moon. Much better (IMO) gaming floor than before.
They also did a really nice job on Silver Star hotel room remodel. I always avoided Silver Star hotel due to bad rooms. But last time I visited only Silver Star rooms available. I was impressed with the new rooms.
Now they just need to remodel the Silver Star casino floor.

 vespajet replied on Friday, 3rd July 2015

Here in Atlanta, Harrah's Cherokee has billboards promoting themselves as the closest "real" casino. They also heavily market to the Asian community, as in the areas of town with large Asian populations, they have billboards in Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese (and on the Harrah's Cherokee website, there are options to translate the site into those languages). They even have a dedicated Asian gaming pit next to the property's Asian restaurant that offers baccarat and blackjack.

 anawas replied on Friday, 3rd July 2015

I can vouch for Cherokee's Asian-games room (and nearby pit). Very vibrant gaming going on there, especially on the weekends.

 anawas responded on Thursday, 2nd July 2015

Build it on the site of the old Braves stadium!

 vespajet replied on Friday, 3rd July 2015

MGM is looking at the area around Philips Arena, the Georgia World Congress Center and the Georgia Dome/New Falcons Stadium. Two sites mentioned in the piece are the current site of the Georgia Dome (which will be torn down once the New Falcons Stadium opens in March 2017) and the "Gulch", which is across the street from Philips Arena and the CNN Center (This is the site of the proposed multimodal terminal and the masterplan for the area includes new development around the terminal.).

The likely outcome in regards to Turner Field once the Braves relocate to Cobb County is that Turner Field is turned into a football/soccer/athletics stadium for Georgia State University and the parking lot where Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium once stood is turned into a ballpark for Georgia State's baseball and softball teams. Currently Georgia State's football team plays in the Georgia Dome and it's not clear if they'll be moving to the New Falcons Stadium. Their soccer, baseball and softball teams current all play and practice at a facility about 7 and a half miles (as the crow flies) from campus. The football program has a practice facility several block from the campus (With Georgia State being located in Downtown Atlanta. This would also include some residential and retail to be built on some of the other surface lots around the stadium. Georgia State over the last 15-20 years has really expanded their footprint in the Downtown area by either repurposing existing buildings into new classroom, office and dorm space or building new buildings on sites in the area that had long been abandoned by the previous occupants.

 anawas replied on Friday, 3rd July 2015

Off topic: Kind of cool to hear the urban renewal / infill projects going on.

On topic: Combining a casino and a pro-sports arena or stadium would be pretty sweet. Sort of like what has happened with Horseshoe Baltimore (and probably the Philly Live! casino, but in a more populated area of town than Philly's sports complex).

 vespajet replied on Friday, 3rd July 2015

Had the Isle of Capri won the Pittsburgh casino licence, their casino would have been attached to the new arena (They were in a partnership with the Pittsburgh Penguins on a casino/arena project.).