Georgia has a few new billboards popping up here and there with a focus on bringing pari-mutuel wagering into the state. The billboard advertising campaign is the brainchild and effort of the Georgia Horse Racing Coalition. The star of the billboards is a well-known Thoroughbred racehorse, none other than Georgia’s own Mucho Macho Man.
Several of the billboards, each featuring Georgia’s favorite horse, are located in and around metro Atlanta. It is estimated by the advertising campaign sponsors that the billboards will draw the eyes of over a million people daily.
The Horse Racing Coalition wants to gather support from voters for a 2014 statewide referendum for allowing betting on horse races.
Georgia voters already approved a statewide lottery at least 20 years ago. However, any inroads to permit horse racing and betting, and thus expand gambling, have not been approved. Many think that the time is right to try the horse racing referendum again.
One of Georgia own, Sugar Hill contractor Dean Reeves, is the owner of Mucho Macho Man. Reeves himself owns eight horses in addition to Mucho Macho Man, who finished third in the 2011 Kentucky Derby. Reeves has been a strong supporter of the horse racing referendum. He also thinks the timing is right.
Reeves told Fox Atlanta, “We need the jobs. We need the industry and the state needs the money to help the HOPE scholarship and it’s a lot of positives to it.”
A constitutional amendment would require approval by the state legislature. State Senator Jack Murphy has stated he will try again in next year’s session.
Says Murphy, "We feel that it's going to move forward at some point in time because the people, 72 to 75 percent of the people in Georgia, want to see a referendum placed on the ballot."
According to Murphy, the proposed horse racing referendum needs a two-thirds vote in the state legislature before it can make next year's ballot.
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