State Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah, touched off public outcry this month when announcing an intent to introduce legislation that would allow a form of video gambling in certain state facilities. Jekyll Island would be one of them.
No one can find fault with the objective of the legislation or Rep. Stephens. Like any good legislator who cares about his state and who is concerned about tomorrow, he is trying to come up with ideas to keep Georgia solvent, its budget healthy and its taxpayers happy.
Gambling would help to do at least the first two, he feels.
Not surprisingly, though, neither residents of the island nor the board of the Jekyll Island Authority favor his proposal – not in any way, shape or form.
To them, Jekyll is not the place to plop down any kind of legalized gambling. That includes video lottery terminals.
They are right, dead right. It would go against all the plans that are in place, plans that will soon be in place and plans that are now on the drawing board. Most all revolve around back-to-nature and family friendly concepts.
Trying to squeeze gambling into either of these concepts would take quite some doing and a virtually boundless imagination.
The state is pumping millions of dollars into the future of Jekyll Island – a future that up to now has not involved gambling.
Yes, it’s just video gambling. But what’s next? Open the door, even just a little, and who knows what might walk or be shoved inside.
Rep. Stephens is looking out after the state, and as taxpayers we appreciate that.
We just don’t think Jekyll Island – promoted as having a family friendly atmosphere – would be a good fit for gambling.