Indian casino bill gets Ga. panel OK



ATLANTA — A super majority of the General Assembly would have to approve any land transfer to an Indian tribe wanting to open a casino under legislation that passed Tuesday in a House Judiciary subcommittee.

Two-thirds of the House and Senate would have to go along with any transfer, noted the sponsor of Senate Bill 62, Sen. William Ligon, R-Brunswick.

“This is a high burden, but this is a very serious law because you’re talking about removing land from the jurisdiction of the state of Georgia,” he said.

Casino gambling would be allowed on land granted to an Indian nation because it would technically no long be part of Georgia.

Ligon said the proposal has the support of the state’s existing tribes who don’t want a new band of Indians to gain dominance because of the wealth generated in a casino.

“This arose in Glynn County, the senator’s district,” said subcommittee Chairman Roger Land, R-Darien. “He’s been working on it to see if there’s some way to have some control over what might happen.”

Ligon changed the wording of the bill since it passed the Senate last year. That means if the House passes it, the Senate would have to consider it again and agree to the changes before it could head to the governor for his signature.

In recent years, rumors have circulated in Glenn County that an out-of-state tribe was considering the purchase of property from a struggling developer. The tribe’s interest was in developing a casino.