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Maine Tribes against a Third Casino
- November 6, 2017 By Oliver Young -
Maine is not a state that usually makes the gambling news. However, its citizens are supposed to vote in a referendum on the possibility of establishing a third casino within state territory. The state laws in Maine require citizens’ support before a new casino can be established.
While we are yet to see what will be the response of Maine’s citizens, we know that the federally recognised native tribes of Maine are against the casino. The reason for the tribes’ opposition is more than clear. Namely, the tribes feel that a third casino will harm their economic interests.
Two years ago it was reported that Maine’s casinos lost money and had lower slot machine revenues and the owners surely feel that they will be losing even more money if a new casino is opened, because heavier competition will mean that many of their traditional customers will now switch to the new casino.
York County Will Be the Place of the New Casino
The proponents of the idea for a new casino in Maine campaigned this year and managed to gather sufficient support to put the issue on the ballot. The Penobscot Nation and the Passamaquoddy which are two of the most notable tribes in the state issued a public statement in which they claim that the referendum is a misuse of the democratic right to a referendum, adding that the establishment of a new casino will definitely hurt the economy of the two federally recognised native tribes.
The casino issue will be Question one on the Tuesday referendum and a ‘yes’ vote will result in the right to build a new gambling facility in York County. The facility could be either a casino or a slot parlour. Businessman Shawn Scott was the main proponent of the idea for a new casino. If the people vote in favour, Scott will have the right to bid for a casino licence. The specific location for the new facility is yet to be decided by the state authorities, in the case of a ‘yes’ win.
Scott had a share of the Bangor horserace track and in 2003 he was allowed to place slot machines there, but he then sold his share to Penn National. That was a rather controversial move and as a result now many oppose Scott’s involvement in the new casino.
Tribes Fear They’d Lose Money
The two tribes have an ongoing deal with Oxford casino which is the second casino facility in Maine at the moment. Both tribes get a fraction of the casino revenues and if a new casino is established, then the old deal would be void. The tribes will have to sign a new deal and it appears that they are not happy about that.
It appears that a new revenue scheme has been put forward and the tribes think that it is not a fair one. The tribes also feel that the voters are misled that the casino development would be beneficial to the state’s tribes, while they feel that it is not the case. Most gubernatorial candidates also oppose the move.