A new campaign to put the question of legalized gambling in the District of Columbia to a public vote Nov. 6 was announced yesterday.
The gambling initiative will be spearheaded by some members of the D.C. Citizens Gambling Study Commission, a public body that last year unsuccessfully urged the City Council to hold an advisory referendum on the repeal of laws against wagering.
Brant Coopersmith, who was chairman of the gambling commission, disclosed the formation of a group called the D.C. Committee on Legalized Gambling to conduct the vote campaign.
He and Jerry Cooper, a member of the advisory body, said the new committee is backed by business groups, including representatives of the independent grocery and liquor stores, and by the promoters of a jai alai fronton (arena) in Washington.
The study commission recommended legalized wagering on such events as jai alai games and dog races, the creation of a city-run lottery and the repeal of laws that prohibit charitable raffles and bingo games. Cooper said a new federal law will block off-track horse betting.
Coopersmith said a Nov. 6 vote would be binding rather than advisory. Voters would decide whether to put the actual legalized gambling law into effect, using the same election process by which California voters enacted the tax-cutting Proposition 13 last-year.