Pa. ban on gambling contributions struck down

April 30, 2009 12:12:31 PM PDT
Pennsylvania's highest court says a ban on political campaign contributions by casino owners and executives is unconstitutional. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the ban violates the state constitution's guarantee of free speech.

The ban was included in the state's 2004 law that legalized slot machines. It was considered the nation's broadest such restriction.

A majority of justices agreed with the argument by Philadelphia-area developer Peter DePaul, who sued to challenge the law in 2007. He's a part owner of Foxwoods Casino Philadelphia, which hasn't been built.

DePaul argued that the ban was an overly broad and discriminatory infringement of the rights of free expression and association.

The ban was touted as a major bulwark against the political influence that the lucrative gambling industry can exert over policymakers.

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