Legal Uncertainty for Anti-Casino Ballot Proposal

There’s still uncertainty about a proposed ballot question aiming to block casinos in Massachusetts.  

The group Repeal the Casino Deal says it has collected enough signatures to get a question on the ballot repealing the state’s casino gambling law.  Organizers say they collected roughly 90,000 signatures – 20,000 more than necessary to get the issue on the ballot.   

But a legal hurdle remains.  

Attorney General Martha Coakley disqualified the question, ruling it unconstitutional.  She says casino applicants have already invested 400 thousand dollars plus in the licensing process.  And stripping away the casino law would be the same thing as illegally taking their property. 

Ballot question backers have appealed Coakley’s decision to the Supreme Judicial Court.  Group spokesperson Dave Guarino says they’re optimistic the judge will see it their way. 

“You can see in cities and towns across the commonwealth when the question is put to voters, they’re voting against casinos,” Guarino says. “And we think its time the entire state has a chance to do the same and turn back this wrongheaded piece of legislation.”

 The signatures must still be certified by Secretary of State William Galvin’s office.  Organizers say after that, they’ll request a court date.