CASINO

Ohio judge snuffs out last casino legal challenge

TAGs: Cris Brown, Frederick Kinsey, Leonard Postrado, Ohio

There’s no more legal impediment for casinos to operate in the State of Ohio after a Franklin County judge threw out the last anti-casino petition in the state.

Ohio judge snuffs out last casino legal challengeJudge Chris Brown of Common Pleas Court denied the petition of Frederick Kinsey for the court to strike down the state constitutional amendments allowing casino gambling in Ohio, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

The court ruled that the constitutional amendments, which voters approved in 2009 and 2010, has not in any way violated the federal constitutional rights of the petitioner.

“The court finds the Casino Amendments have a legitimate purpose, as they clearly relate to the state’s interest in regulating gaming and economic activities. The court also finds that it is reasonable to believe the Casino Amendments promote that purpose,” Judge Brown said in an 11-page ruling.

The Ohio Supreme Court dismissed most of those parties earlier this year for lack of legal standing. Kinsey petition was the only legal suit standing after the high tribunal noted that the petitioner claimed he also wanted to start a casino, so therefore he at least arguably had the legal right to sue.

Saying that the state has power to grant certain gaming companies a monopoly on operating Ohio’s four casinos, Brown pointed out that Kinsey’s claims that he was denied equal protection “cannot, as a matter of law, succeed.”

“This well-reasoned decision puts to rest any argument that Ohio’s gaming laws and regulations are unconstitutional,” Albert Lin, lawyer for one of the companies involved in the lawsuit, Penn National Gaming, as well as a member of the Ohio State Bar Association Gaming Committee, said.“Local governments and communities will now be able to depend on the tax base and employment these businesses provide.”

There was no immediate reaction from the anti-gambling group.

An attorney for one of the companies involved in the lawsuit says the judge’s decision settles any argument that Ohio’s gambling laws are unconstitutional.

“[T]he court’s dismissal … provides legal certainty to Ohio’s four casinos, and substantiates the legal structure of the Ohio casino law approved by voters, the General Assembly, and the Ohio Casino Control Commission if this case is not appealed,” John H. Oberle, chair of the bar association gaming panel, said.

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