Coweta's Barry will testify at hearing on horse racingBy SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
The state Senate committee studying the idea of bringing horse racing — and pari-mutuel betting — to Georgia will be holding its second and final meeting today.
The Senate Study Committee on Horse Racing meets at 1 p.m. today at the state capitol.
“It’s all about economic development, and about jobs. Jobs on the track and off the track. And what impact it could have on the restaurants and hotels and shopping and bringing more people to Atlanta,” said Barry.
Georgia is one of only six states that doesn’t have horse racing with betting, Barry said. The biggest states for the sport are Kentucky, Florida, and New York. Horses are already traveling through Georgia on their way to Kentucky and Florida, Barry said.
“I’ve gotten to know an awful lot of people in the thoroughbred horse racing world,” Barry said. “And they kept telling me that Atlanta is the best spot in the U.S. that doesn’t have horse racing.”
There have been several attempts over the years to bring horse racing to Georgia.
“Our contention is that it’s time,” Barry said. “We’ve been through an awful recession; the state needs money. Everybody could use a little shot in the arm,” Barry said.
The Senate Study Committee on Horse Racing was created by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. The committee held its first hearing in November. After the second hearing, the committee will likely make recommendations to the Senate.
Bringing pari-mutuel betting to Georgia will require a constitutional amendment, said Barry.
In the Georgia General Assembly, resolutions to put the amendment on the ballot would have to receive a two-thirds majority in both the Senate and House. The question could then be put to voters.
Hopes are to have the question on the ballot in November 2014, Barry said.