Savanannah state legislators confirmed on Wednesday that an effort is under way to allow gambling casinos on Hutchinson Island.
The topic came up during the Savannah City Council’s legislative luncheon on Hutchinson, after Alderman Tom Bordeaux asked about rumors of a plan to legalize gambling there.
“I think it would be a horrible mistake,” Bordeaux said.
State Rep. Mickey Stephens, D-Savannah, said he expects legislation to be introduced next year by state Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah, to legalize gambling on Hutchinson, which he supports as a way to generate jobs and revenue.
However, the decision should go to residents in the form of a referendum, Mickey Stephens said.
“I think the people should decide,” he said.
Ron Stephens, who was not at the luncheon, said later he did not believe legislation had to be introduced because Georgia’s constitution already allows gambling through the Georgia Lottery.
The Georgia Lottery’s board just needs to extend lottery options beyond scratch-off cards and numbers games to slot machines, Stephens said. Parameters would be put in place to restrict the casinos to Hutchinson and other potential tourism destinations, he said.