Should casino law become a ballot question?

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Massachusetts’ highest court heard arguments Monday over whether the casino law should be put back on the ballot this November.

As casino developers continue pursuing the gaming licenses up for grabs in Massachusetts, other groups are working to get the 2011 casino law repealed altogether. Critics of the law went before the state’s Supreme Judicial Court Monday, asking for it to be made a ballot question again in November.

“I think it is too late, because we have made a decision. The voters in Springfield have okayed the decision. It’s a good economic development strategy with a great ripple effect,” said Dianne Doherty of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center.

Attorney General Martha Coakley said the proposed ballot question violates state law, because it would take private land from casino developers without compensating them.

But the group Repeal the Casino Deal is challenging that, arguing the state and voters have the right to revisit laws the impact public morals and welfare.

If voters didn’t have strong feelings about a casino in their community or state before, they likely have their minds made up now. It’s become even more of a hot topic as people in Massachusetts learn more about the pros and cons of the potential projects.

“People are looking more into it. Getting more informed. Everywhere I go, people are talking about it,” said Iris Castro from Springfield.

The justices are expected to make a decision in early July determining whether we’ll see the casino law question again.

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