Dan O’Leary Plans $1B Gambling Complex Near Atlanta

February 28, 2012 12:00 AM
Dan O’Leary Plans $1B Gambling Complex Near Atlanta
" ATLANTA (AP) — A developer is betting that Georgia residents are ready for a gambling facility, and he’s unveiled plans to build a sprawling new complex near Atlanta that he hopes can give a jolt to the state’s economy and infuse the popular HOPE scholarship program with much-needed cash.

Dan O’Leary told The Associated Press on Tuesday he wants to build a $1 billion entertainment complex near Norcross that includes a towering hotel, a spacious theater and a game floor with 7,500 video lottery machines.

Gambling proposals have emerged in recent years in Georgia and other states hard-hit by the economic downturn. It’s been a tough sell in Georgia, where conservative groups and legislators fear it could erode family values and lead to increases in crime and divorce.

O’Leary said the development could funnel $350 million each year to the struggling college scholarship program.

“Our project will completely solve the HOPE problem and will help Georgia in a huge way. It can start building back up HOPE’s reserves, send more kids to college, send more kids to prekindergarten — and we can do it today,” he said.

It isn’t the first time that O’Leary has rolled the dice on an ambitious gambling project. He had a plan in 2009 to transform Underground Atlanta, the downtown attraction he operates, into a casino with restaurants, shops and a hotel. The project was scuttled amid opposition from then-Gov. Sonny Perdue. "

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