Voters Say Yes to Slots in Hamilton County, Florida

By: Greg Gullberg Email
By: Greg Gullberg Email

New Casino Coming To Hamilton County, Florida
by Greg Gullberg

[Update] - Hamilton Co., Florida - April 10, 2012 -

Hamilton County, Florida residents voted Tuesday to allow slot machines in their county.

A vote for slot machines means a new casino is on the way. Voters marched to the polls and passed the referendum by 61%.

Richie McCoy is an organizer for the venture who tells Eyewitness News reporter Greg Gullberg that it'll bring big business to the county.

"Yes, I think it'll bring a lot of tourism here and help stimulate the economy with the taxes and all," McCoy said.

The Hamilton Downs Horse Track is already under construction. Now that the vote has passed, a new casino will get under way immediately on the same grounds in Jennings, Florida located just south of the Georgia border.

Together the horse track and casino will offer everything from barrel racing to slots and poker. Of more than 1,911 voters who came out 61.07% voted "Yes" to approve it.

"I think it'll bring more jobs to people around my age base and it'll bring more excitement from out of town to come to our area," Jasper resident Conan Capps told Gullberg.

But not everyone agrees. 38.93% voted against it.

"I think it's too much temptation for young folks, because we just don't have a lot of entertainment for our young folks," said concerned resident Kathy Smith.

The horse track is set to open this winter and the casino will come some time later.

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Voters Decide to Allow Slot Machines In Hamilton County

- Jennings, Florida - April 10, 2012 -

Hamilton County voters have approved slots by a near 2-1 margin.

About 25 percent voters turned out for the slots issue. Of the 1911 votes cast, 1167 were yes (61.03%) in favor of slots and 744 voted no (38.97%).

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Voters To Decide Whether to Allow Slot Machines In Hamilton County

- Jennings, Florida - April 09, 2012 -

Voters will decide Tuesday whether or not to allow slot machines in a new horse track coming to Hamilton County, Florida.

Richie McCoy is one of the organizers for the Hamilton Downs Horse Track that's now under construction in Jennings, Florida.
They also want to build a casino on the grounds to accompany the races, but first voters need to decide whether they want slot machines in their county.

"It'll bring the jobs and even if you don't like the slots, I've never played the slot machine but I am voting for the jobs," McCoy said.

The Hamilton Downs Horse Track is still under construction. It's poised to be ready by this winter.

If the vote passes and slot machines are to be allowed, a casino will go into construction that will come some time later.

Jennings is in a rural area just a stone's throw from the Georgia border under Valdosta. Some parents are nervous about the temptation on their children.

"That's not a place I'd like my child to be attracted to, or be readily available right down the road," said concerned parent Ashlyn Carter.

McCoy says the horse track and casino will bring in hundreds of jobs and make Hamilton County a visitor's destination.

"Our biggest export here is our kids and we need to bring something here to keep them home," McCoy said.

The polls are open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.


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