The casino law repeal movement, once largely dismissed as the whimsical campaign of a few antigambling zealots, has assembled a legal team of experienced constitutional specialists to carry the fight for a statewide repeal vote into the state’s highest court, amid signs that the repeal effort is gaining strength.
Two Boston lawyers who have worked in the state attorney general’s office, Thomas O. Bean and H. Reed Witherby, will lead the team representing the anticasino citizens campaign Repeal the Casino Deal in an ongoing case before the Supreme Judicial Court. The central question for the court to decide is whether a binding question to roll back the casino law and ban the casino industry from Massachusetts will appear on the November statewide ballot.
The state’s casino applicants, each of which has already invested millions of dollars in their bids, are taking the repeal effort seriously. Five of the six applicants for gambling licenses to be awarded this spring filed a legal motion Monday to intervene in the case, arguing that the repeal question should not appear on the ballot.
“They don’t want the people to vote,” said Bean, speaking of the casino industry. “It’s reasonable to say they are concerned.”
A new poll suggests that opponents may have a shot to overturn the law, if they can get the repeal on the ballot.
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