On Monday, the Supreme Judicial Court hears arguments on whether it should order the state to allow a referendum this fall to repeal casino gambling.
Attorney General Martha Coakley declined to permit the question on the ballot, saying it would be an illegal "taking" of private property - in this case, the rights casino operators would gain if awarded contracts to run casinos - and would be unfair to the four communities that would otherwise stand to benefit from casinos or a slots parlor.
Anti-casino forces say there's no taking and that, in any case, gambling is a matter of public concern and that the state can't just give away its right to protect "the public welfare" like that. They note the SJC had earlier rejected arguments from the operator of a dog track that a referendum banning dog racing was an illegal taking.
On Thursday, the state gaming commission could rule on whether Boston is a "host community" when it comes to the two casinos proposed for its borders - only one of which will go forward, if at all. The distinction matters because host communities can hold referendums on the casinos - as East Boston did before Suffolk Downs moved the physical location of its casino from partly in East Boston to entirely in Revere - and bargain for higher benefits from casino operators.
The commission had been set to vote on the issue today, but the Herald reports decided to give Mayor Walsh a week to work something out with Suffolk Downs and Steve Wynn.
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