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Developer Says Gambling Complex a 'Silver Bullet' for Hope Scholarships

Dan O'Leary says his proposal for an entertainment and gambling complex could bring a "quick infusion" of funds into Georgia's ailing Hope Scholarship program.

For even the most die-heart southern conservative, Dan O'Leary makes a convincing argument that gambling would be a good idea for Gwinnett - and the entire state of Georgia.

O'Leary, a long time developer in the Atlanta metro area, is pitching the idea of a multi-million dollar development that would include entertainment, restaurants, hotels - and gambling to a 122-acre site on the southwest corner of I-85 and Jimmy Carter Boulevard where OFS is currently located.

The gambling complex would feature a computerized scratch-off ticket type of gambling dispensed by VLTs (video lottery terminals) which look similar to slot machines.

And the state would benefit to the tune of $350 million in just the first phase of the development, later he projects another $500 million after phase two is complete in four to five years.

"We're bringing a trophy to Gwinnett," said O'Leary. "And it's projected to be one of the top five revenue-generators for the state."

The biggest benefactor would be education, points out O'Leary. He proposes  that the gambling complex would be able to prop up the ailing Hope Scholarship. It's projected that by 2014 the Hope Scholarship will be reduced to 50 percent payout to students who qualify.

"This is a silver bullet for the the Hope Scholarship," said O'Leary earlier this week at a monthly Gwinnett Municipal Meeting held at the Atlanta Hilton in Peachtree Corners.

"Gwinnett has the largest number of Hope Scholarship recipients according to the Georgia Student Finance Commission. This would bring a quick infusion into the Hope Scholarship program."

The decision will be up to the seven-member Georgia Lottery Board. But time is running out. O'Leary would like to have a decision by the end of the year.

Surrounding states have VLTs and are benefiting from the additional revenue notes O'Leary. "Georgia is losing $200 billion a year because people are leaving for gaming opportunities in Alabama, North Carolina, Florida and Mississippi."

O'Leary said OFS would remain on the site on 40 acres, the gambling complex would be situated on the remaining 122 acres. The development would bring an additional 2,500 jobs to Gwinnett.

"This is such a unique opportunity for Georgia," said O'Leary. "This would be a world class facility, not a neon glitzy pink flamingo complex but a Ritz, resort type of development.

"We're at the tipping point now. If this isn't approved, the Hope Scholarship fate is sealed," he said.

See also:

Poll: Georgians Support VLT Gambling to Fund Hope

 

The proposed development is situated near the city limits of Peachtree Corners. Those in favor of the complex maintain the entire area will benefit from additional revenue to nearby businesses and improve an area that has been in decline. Do you see the proposed complex a benefit to the area?

Robert J. Nebel October 12, 2012 at 11:14 AM
This could be an awesome complex filled with gaming, entertainment and dining. Is it the OFS property that we are talking about in this post? It says OFC in this post? Is OFC a parent company?
Judy Putnam (Editor) October 12, 2012 at 11:27 AM
I have to admit I was a little skeptical about the idea of bringing gambling into Gwinnett, but after hearing the developer's presentation and getting a look at his plans, I think it would be hard to turn down. Now it's up to the Lottery Board Commission, which was appointed by Gov. Deal, to give its nod of approval.
Cathy Freeman October 12, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Will taxpayers have to fund any part of this development in any way?
Judy Putnam (Editor) October 12, 2012 at 01:45 PM
No, Cathy. This will be a privately-funded venture. It's my understanding that the developer just needs the Georgia Lottery Board's approval to make it happen. On the July ballot voters were asked if they would be in favor of a gambling complex to fund the HOPE scholarship and the results showed that the majority of voters were in favor.
PTC Concerns October 12, 2012 at 01:50 PM
It is too bad we can't attract an actual company that makes a product/service to the facility which would put people to work in something other than low paying service industry jobs. The developer says 2500 jobs. What kind of jobs? Hotel maid? Janitor? Front Desk night clerk? Security guard? Do these jobs have benefits? Or is it 2500 jobs including contstruction, but then only 600 when its all said and done. Come on Gwinnett Chamber gets us a good company to move in that can provide quality jobs. If gambling is the best way we can come up with paying for education I think we may have bigger issues.
Bob Chadwick October 12, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Whose paying for any traffic improvements to an already overcrowded corridor?
Judy Putnam (Editor) October 12, 2012 at 03:48 PM
That will fall to Gwinnett I would imagine Bob. But realize the county would benefit greatly from the increased tax revenue.
Alex H October 15, 2012 at 03:32 PM
The development will be required to mitigate their direct traffic impacts. Corridor and regional impacts have to be addressed on a larger scale.

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