Acting Georgia Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders’ Association president and Atlanta defense lawyer Robert Meier has been asked by Georgia House Speaker David Ralston to put together an advisory panel to complete an economic impact study on the feasibility and economic benefits of horseracing in the state of Georgia.
According to a release, Meier has been working behind the scenes for more than a year Ralston to lay the groundwork for the possible introduction of legalized horseracing in Georgia.
Ralston has requested that Meier meet with him Feb. 19 to discuss the creation of the panel and to address various horse racing concerns.
The following was stated in a Feb. 15 GTOBA release:
“As has been pointed prior, if this effort is not done properly, it can derail and permanently damage any chance at bringing the racing industry to Georgia. Calling out representatives, gubernatorial candidates, and other politicians or groups to ask if they are for or against gambling or pari-mutuel betting is the wrong way to frame this issue and will result in nothing but backlash and ultimately, failure.
“There is great support for this issue now more than ever. However, it must be done correctly. There are politicians who privately want to see this advisory panel succeed and produce the necessary information to allow them to publicly support a voter referendum on the issue.
“This advisory panel’s goal is to provide political and private sector participants with the necessary and accurate factual details and economic impact statements to allow for their public support of this initiative. We cannot expect elected officials to support a bill on an issue of this magnitude without such information. The advisory panel wants to provide not only political cover, but also allow those in support to change the minds of those who are currently opposed to this issue.”