New York Seeks to Dismiss Gambling Referendum Challenge

New York’s Board of Elections asked a judge to throw out a lawsuit challenging the wording it authorized for a referendum to approve expanded casino gambling in the state, saying it was filed too late.

Under New York law, gambling measures must be approved in two consecutive legislative sessions, followed by a referendum. Lawmakers passed Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to open seven casinos to boost the upstate economy last year and ratified it again in June. The referendum is slated to go to voters Nov. 5.

Brooklyn lawyer Eric J. Snyder challenged the decision to change the wording in a lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court in Albany this month.

Snyder, who says he is opposed to the proliferation of gambling in New York and intends to vote against the referendum, says the inclusion of language about the plan’s ability to create jobs and generate economic activity is a use of public funds to advocate for a “yes” vote and violates the state constitution.

Lawyers for the Board of Elections today asked Justice Richard Platkin today to throw out Snyder’s petition, saying it was filed after an Aug. 19 deadline to challenge the referendum’s wording.

Platkin said he would rule by the middle of next week at the latest.

The case is Snyder v. Walsh, 5449/2013, New York State Supreme Court, Albany County.

To contact the reporters on this story: Danielle Sanzone in Albany at dmsanz01@gmail.com; Chris Dolmetsch in New York State Supreme Court at 8969 or cdolmetsch@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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