Casino Case on Tuesday

The casino case in Rhode Island is on hold until Tuesday, August 8. A federal judge said he will decide on Tuesday whether Rhode Island will vote on a constitutional amendment in November. The amendment would allow the Narragansett Indian Tribe and Harrah’s Entertainment to open and operate a casino in West Warwick.

Before the casino is operated in West Warwick, the Rhode Islanders must approve the amendment during the upcoming election in November. The spokesman for the secretary of state’s office has said the amendment should finalize the ballot before Wednesday, August 9, to avoid extra costs.

The federal courts’ state election should halt only in extreme cases, the lawyers for Harrah’s and the Narragansetts told the judge. Last month, a request from Gov. Don Carcieri and Attorney General Patrick Lynch were refused by the Rhode Island Supreme Court, a request on the proposed amendment.

A 5 percent share of the casino’s profit will go to the Narragansetts tribal government. Lauren Jones, attorney for Harrah’s said, “There is no individual anywhere getting any benefit from it.”

Ajax Gaming Ventures LLC and Johnston town officials have filed a lawsuit calling the amendment unconstitutional. Nothing would stop Ajax and Johnston town officials from returning to the General Assembly in the future. Because they say it grants lucrative gaming right based on race.

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