The General Assembly is debating casino legislation?
Yes. Since at least 2015, casino companies have urged members of the Georgia legislature to pass measures to legalize commercial gambling in brick-and-mortar resort-style casinos. Legalization requires that voters amend the state constitution and that legislators pass enabling legislation to establish rules and oversight of gaming companies.
Why are cultural and performing arts venues concerned by the prospect of casinos?
Casinos use live entertainment simply as a loss leader to draw people to the gaming floor and generate gaming receipts. This impacts a local venue’s ability to book talent and drives up the price consumers pay.
What will the impact be on arts and cultural venues in my area?
Casinos restrict local venues’ access to talent and entertainment by imposing crippling contract clauses. For local venues, access to entertainment is their life blood – it drives ancillary income like modest ticket proceeds, food and beverage sales, and merchandise sales. Most people don’t realize that the artist leaves with 85-90% of net ticket sales.
Without access to talent and entertainment, local venues will struggle to remain open. We’ve seen this happen in other states that have catered to casino companies without providing proper protections for local venues.
How can casinos have that significant of an impact?
Casino entertainment venues operate under a much different business model than your local venue. Casinos pay above-market rates for talent and use entertainment as a loss leader to lure patrons to the gaming floor. In exchange for their lavish payouts, casinos require talent to agree to exclusivity, radius, and time clauses. These contract clauses prevent talent from performing at non-casino owned facilities, within a certain distance of the casino (usually 100 miles), and for a certain length of time after the performance at the casino (typically at least one year).
Has this happened elsewhere?
Yes. In a survey conducted by AMS Planning and Research in 2016, 70% of venues surveyed reported losing popular entertainers or concert acts to casinos. Local venues in Georgia are too important to risk without protections in the legislation.
How can we help to save our local venues?
The Coalition needs everyone who enjoys and benefits from local venues to contact your House and Senate members to let them know you support venue protections within resort-style casino legislation.