Eric B. Becker


This Note focuses on the ability of local governmental bodies and local actors to become involved when a state seeks to introduce casino-based gaming or license additional casino properties. Traditionally, states retain the power to make most gaming-related decisions, sometimes only allowing simple "yes or no" voter referenda. This note argues that an increased role for local actors in bringing gaming to cities will best protect the interests of the people most affected by casinos. Part I provides a brief background of gambling in America and the key aspects of gaming-enabling legislation in various states. Part II discusses local government law and theory. Part III examines aspects of casino gambling that highlight the importance of local involvement in the legislative and regulatory process. It also discusses case studies of commercial casino development in Philadelphia and Detroit. Part IV compares the introduction of gaming in the two cities to better understand the successful introduction of casinos in Detroit. The Note concludes that the capability for local actors to help guide the healthy development of gambling necessarily requires that state enabling legislation reserves a role for local governments and voters in the process of introducing and licensing gaming operations in their municipality.

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