The Ohio Supreme Court has given the green light to a Columbiana County man to challenge an Ohio law allowing casino gambling. The lawsuit claims the restrictive nature of who is permitted to operate the facilities is in violation of his federal constitutional rights.
On Thursday, Justice Judith L. French stated that Frederick Kinsey has standing to challenge the constitutionality of an amendment to Ohio’s Constitution approved by voters in 2009. The amendment permits four casinos in specified locations, as well as the resulting legislation outlining how the casinos and seven “racinos” operate. The ruling also rejected a lawsuit (pdf) filed collectively by the Ohio Roundtable along with 12 other individuals in 2011 to block casino gambling in the state, according to Court News Ohio.
Kinsey’s claim is that the state constitutional amendment and the laws violate the Equal Protection Clause because it limits who can operate the casinos to only a few companies. He claims that the barrier doesn’t afford him the opportunity to apply to be a casino operator.
Justice French wrote that Kinsey’s argument is sufficient to overcome the case’s dismissal by the trial court before he has the opportunity to make his arguments.
It was noted by Justice French that should the Ohio law be declared unconstitutional, Kinsey wouldn’t be able to open a casino because none could be opened. She explained that that the unequal treatment claims would be resolved by that declaration because the ban would impact all potential operators equally. If he really wanted to operate a casino the ban would be an illogical result, observed Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger, who partially concurred with the other plaintiffs dismissal but dissented concerning Kinsey.