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Attorney says TN should consider casino gambling

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Tennessee doesn't allow casinos, but one attorney thinks it's time for state leaders to reconsider gaming.

Attorney Stuart Scott says games of chance could be guaranteed money-makers for Tennessee. His law firm has a gaming board that works with other states, like Ohio, which opened casinos in 2009.

"They were losing $500 million a year to contiguous states from people from Ohio going to other states," Scott said.

He contends the same thing is happening in Tennessee.

"I go to Evansville every month. My grandchildren are there, but so is the casino. And I love the casinos," said Tennessee resident Gloria Griffin. "There's a lot of Nashville/Davidson County license plate tags in the parking area."

And that could mean Tennessee is missing out on some big money. Gambling has generated a couple billion dollars for Ohio just over the past few years. Scott says with the prime locations of Memphis, Nashville and Chattanooga on the rivers, the state could do even better for its public schools and public projects.

State Sen. Reginald Tate, D-Memphis, proposed a casino for Shelby County in the past to fund education. He also points out it took 10 years to get the lottery, and it would take about the same time to update the Constitution again and debate those opposed to gaming.

"I think I would enjoy it. I wouldn't have to go to Vegas for my bachelor party," said Tennessee resident Eric Cornell. "Obviously, if there is gambling, there is going to be the element of addiction."

Still, Scott insists a small number of strategically placed casinos makes good economic sense.

"I think there are some misperceptions out there. I think some folks that have some very legitimate concerns about bringing some bad things that can come with gambling, I think they should look around and see where it has been before drawing conclusions," he said.

At this point, it is just a discussion.

Scott has not approached any lawmakers, and there is nothing on the books.

The state board of education had no statement on any potential revenue from such establishments.

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