Maine’s casino industry may not be entirely too large, however there are some folks out there trying to change that. An international businessman—conveniently, the same who developed and built Maine’s first casino more than ten years ago—has recently made moves to bring York County its own casino site.
On Monday, Maine’s Secretary of State office announced that a proposal to construct a casino in York had received enough signatures that it has the potential of being put up for a vote almost a year from now, in November of 2017. The campaign for another casino is being spearheaded by a group called Horse Racing Jobs Fairness, an organization that is very much involved in Maine’s gambling scene.
Most people do not think of Maine as a gambling hotspot, but some folks hope that this is something that will change, and in a hurry, too. Horse Racing Jobs Fairness has tried before to build a casino in York Country, however that motion did not receive enough signatures to be put up for a formal vote. Officially, it has taken Horse Racing Jobs Fairness more than $4 million just to attain the possibility of a casino vote. That money, however, was donated by the sister of an international casino mogul by the name of Shawn Scott.
Commenting on Monday was Scott’s sister Lisa Scott, who said, “Southern Maine gaming facility” would create 800 construction jobs and more than 1,000 permanent jobs. The ballot initiative does not specify a location in York County for the facility. The approval of this initiative will preserve tens of millions of dollars in revenues that are currently being lost from Maine and going to other New England gaming locations. These revenues can be kept in Maine. In light of the expanded gaming developments in Massachusetts, it is more critical than ever to protect the jobs and tax revenues in Maine.”
As is the case in many states featuring pushes to legalize or expand the legalization of casinos, proponents of the York County facility point to the millions of dollars that are being lost to Massachusetts on an annual basis. Being more convenient for some, Massachusetts casinos are bringing in customers from across the border and raking in the cash. Cash that is not spent just on casino games, but hotels, shows, shopping, and so much more. If Scott, in conjunction with Horse Racing Jobs Fairness, can convince enough people that Maine is missing out on a massive financial opportunity, there is little doubt that the casino’s construction will be approved. While this may sound like an easy battle to fight, it assuredly will not be.
Another angle taken by proponents of the York Count facility is that it will help improve and support the preexistent harness racing industry which, in Maine, has been suffering recently. As of right now there is a sense of optimism amongst those who support this initiative, but there is also loads of work to do. Scott and Co. attempted to get this same proposal on the ballot this past November but failed due to myriad reasons and a heaping of unpreparedness. With almost a full year before a potential vote will happen, the prevailing hope is that the same deficiencies that marred last year’s efforts do not hamper this year’s. That much, however, remains to be seen.