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Casino ballot question debated in court

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The owners of Detroit and tribal casinos were in court today to try to keep a proposal off the November ballot. The proposal would amend the state constitution to allow eight rival casinos to open in Michigan.

The opponents of the proposed amendment say it would also have the practical effect of re-writing state gaming regulations – and that’s not allowed.

Peter Ellsworth is their attorney. He says voters have a right to know what they’re being asked to decide.

“Nowhere in this petition, nowhere in the proposal is there any indication that this proposal re-writes the gaming control act and reduces the power of the gaming control board," he said.

The backers of the amendment say it’s clearly written to do what it’s meant to do – which is to allow more casinos. They say constitutional amendments can often affect a wide variety of state laws.

The court is expected to rule quickly to give election officials time to finalize the statewide November ballot.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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