A federal judge has dismissed a private developer’s case that challenged part of the state’s casino law as unconstitutional.
K.G. Urban Enterprises of New York filed a lawsuit against Gov. Deval Patrick in U.S. District Court over a provision in the 2011 law that reserves one of the three commercial licenses for a federally recognized Indian tribe. The casino developer said the provision violated the equal protection clause of the constitution. K.G. Urban, which wants to build a casino in New Bedford, sought an injunction to invalidate the section of the law.
In a Jan. 9 ruling, U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton said he found no racial preference.
“Neither the [gaming] commission’s declared procedures nor the applicable standards constitute explicit, race-based preferences,” the judge wrote. “The criteria to be employed by the commission speaks in broad terms to an array of factors.”
The lawsuit was filed in 2011, just as the state law took effect that allows casino gambling.
The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), the town of Aquinnah and the Aquinnah Gay Head Community Association all later filed petitions to intervene in the case, saying the outcome of the case could affect the tribe’s plans to open a casino. Judge Gorton denied the motions.
Governor Patrick is now completing a compact with the Mashpee Wampanoags for a casino in Taunton.