Arguments in Massachusetts casino law case filed

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BOSTON (AP) — The state attorney general's office and groups on both sides of the debate over casino gambling have filed their final legal arguments as the state's highest court prepares to take up an appeal centered on a proposed November ballot referendum to repeal a 2011 casino law.

Members of the anti-casino group Repeal the Casino Deal argued in a brief submitted Wednesday that the state has an inalienable "police power" to revisit and revise laws and regulations impacting "public morals and welfare" such as gambling laws.

Democratic state Attorney General Martha Coakley's office acknowledged these "police" rights in its final legal brief even as it called for the state Supreme Judicial Court to uphold its decision not to certify the referendum proposal.

In prior arguments to the court, the office argued that the question violates the state constitution because it would impair, without providing for compensation, the "implied contracts" between the state and the companies such as MGM and Wynn that are seeking gambling licenses.

Among the other groups filing final briefs by Wednesday's deadline were a coalition of religious groups supporting the repeal question and a group of about 20 voters opposing it.

The Supreme Judicial Court is set to hear oral arguments in the appeal on Monday. It is expected to render its decision around July.

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