Casino backer asks Ark. court to dismiss suit

Casino backer asks Ark. court to dismiss suit

A professional poker player seeking the exclusive right to operate casinos in Arkansas asked the state Supreme Court on Wednesday to dismiss a lawsuit challenging her ballot measure, calling it another attempt by racetracks to block the proposal.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A professional poker player seeking the exclusive right to operate casinos in Arkansas asked the state Supreme Court on Wednesday to dismiss a lawsuit challenging her ballot measure, calling it another attempt by racetracks to block the proposal.

Attorneys for Nancy Todd filed briefs asking justices to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the Arkansas Racing Alliance, a campaign funded solely by Oaklawn Jockey Club, a Hot Springs horse track. Oaklawn and Southland, a West Memphis dog track, offer electronic gambling such as video poker and have been campaigning heavily against her ballot measure.

Todd asked the court to intervene in the suit, which named the secretary of state's office as a defendant. Justices are considering a separate lawsuit by Todd challenging the state's decision to reject her proposed amendment.

Todd's brief said the lawsuit was a thinly veiled attempt to "have a second chance at challenging the intervenors' amendment at the 11th hour."

The secretary of state's office asked the court in a separate brief to dismiss the lawsuit.

Todd's proposal has been tentatively certified to appear on the ballot while the court considers her lawsuit. A spokesman for the secretary of state's office said it's too late to remove the proposal from the ballot, but the court can rule that no votes be counted for it.

Election officials rejected Todd's amendment because they said it doesn't tell voters it would repeal the current law allowing the tracks to offer the so-called electronic games of skill. The racing alliance raised the same argument in its lawsuit, but also challenged the validity of the signatures Todd submitted for her proposal.

Todd has argued that she responded to concerns raised by the state over the impact the amendment would have on the tracks' gambling by revising it to say the proposal "may" affect the games.

Attorneys for the state and opponents of the proposal say the wording is still unclear.

The lawsuit marks the third case before the state's highest court over casino legalization. Justices are also considering Texas businessman Michael Wasserman's lawsuit seeking more time to gather signatures for his proposal. Election officials said Wasserman missed a key signature requirement and was not entitled to more time to circulate petitions.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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