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Former Gov. Barbour now lobbying to bring casinos to Georgia

Then-Gov. Haley Barbour offers Coast lawmakers a signature pen after signing the casino incentive bill in 2009. The tax incentives encouraged casino developers to build golf courses, hotels, convention facilities and other non-gambling attractions, giving the developers a 30 percent sales-tax rebate for tourism projects. Barbour now is lobbying for casinos in Georgia.
Then-Gov. Haley Barbour offers Coast lawmakers a signature pen after signing the casino incentive bill in 2009. The tax incentives encouraged casino developers to build golf courses, hotels, convention facilities and other non-gambling attractions, giving the developers a 30 percent sales-tax rebate for tourism projects. Barbour now is lobbying for casinos in Georgia. AP File

Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is joining the wave of casino lobbyists in Georgia to push a referendum that could legalize gambling in that state, according to a blog post by AJC.com.

As casino operators in Mississippi worry about the possible hit to business that would follow legalization of casinos in Georgia, the blog says Barbour completed paperwork in November to represent Wynn Resorts, a Nevada-based casino company whose owner, Steve Wynn, built the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi.

The blog said Barbour and his a longtime friend Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal held a 30-minute meeting Jan. 5 at Deal’s office.

Barbour is among of a half-dozen lobbyists working for Wynn, according to the report. About two dozen of the 40 lobbyists at the Atlanta capitol are working for MGM Resorts International, parent company of the Beau Rivage, which already announced it wants to build a $2 billion casino in downtown Atlanta.

Other lobbyists work for Las Vegas Sands; Penn National Gaming, the parent company of Boomtown Biloxi and Hollywood Gulf Coast in Bay St. Louis; Elite Casino Resorts; Boyd Gaming Corp., parent company of IP Casino Resort in Biloxi; and other casino companies.

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