by: Tony Thomas Updated:
GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - Some voters casting ballots in Georgia face an additional question Tuesday, the results of which will be closely watched.
For the first time in 20 years on a statewide ballot, the issue of expanding gambling in the state will be queried.
The non-binding question comes as a local developer wants state permission to build a $1 billion gambling resort along Interstate 85 that would use video-style slot machines.
Dan O'Leary calls his project a "silver bullet" to help save the struggling HOPE Scholarship program in Georgia.
While it's unclear what the results will be from the referendum question facing some voters, an Atlanta Journal Constitution poll released last week shows a majority of respondents don't want to see an expansion of gambling, even if monies raised would go toward HOPE.
The AJC poll surveyed 625 local residents and found 53 percent do not want an expansion. Forty percent said they would approve . The remaining said they were undecided.
Channel 2 Action News asked people in downtown Norcross Sunday night about their views of the proposed gambling hall.
"Not that it's too iffy, not that it wouldn't make money, but there are other things that are probably just as much a guarantee as video gambling,” Hollis Robinson said.
A few moments later, Claudia Trillo spoke of her support.
"I think it's a great idea, I think it could help the area with money and everything,” Trillo said.
O'Leary needs state Lottery Commission approval to build the resort along I-85, near Jimmy Carter Boulevard, on land that now is the site of an OFS plant.
By phone, O'Leary told Channel 2 Sunday night the results of the poll and ballot question won't affect how he takes his project forward.
"It's really not going to persuade us one way or the other whether there is support for our project. Our project has tremendous support,” O’Leary said.