Judge tosses anti-casino lawsuit

Bill Sisk of the Rockefeller Institute of Government Bill Sisk of the Rockefeller Institute of Government smashes a slot machine with a sledgehammer during an anti-casino event outside the state Capitol in Albany on Tuesday. (Oct. 15, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

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ALBANY -- A lower-level judge tossed a lawsuit Wednesday that sought to knock the statewide casino referendum off the Nov. 5 ballot.

The referendum asks voters for approval to amend the New York Constitution to allow up to seven non-Indian-run casinos.

State Supreme Court Judge Richard Platkin said the challenge filed by Brooklyn attorney Eric Snyder was untimely because he filed his claim after a deadline to do so.

Platkin also said that Snyder's claim that the state Board of Elections exceeded its authority when it used unusually glowing language to write the referendum -- the proposal says casinos will create jobs, lower taxes and help schools -- was "lacking in legal merit."

Snyder said he would appeal to the mid-level Appellate Division of state Supreme Court. 

"Transparency and proper notice are fundamental rights in this country, and that includes New York," Snyder said after the ruling.

The New York Public Interest Research Group also criticized Platkin's decision, saying he blocked a "legitimate discussion" of whether the rosy language of the referendum was unfair to voters.

"We're disappointed that the judge chose to block a legitimate discussion on the merits of whether the state gamed the language of the casino amendment to tilt New Yorkers to a yes vote," NYPIRG said in a statement. "New Yorkers still need to know how the state put its thumb on the scale in favor of casino interests when it came to drafting the pro gambling ballot question."

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