York County, Maine may be one of the next regions of the US to break ground on a casino project, reports Sea Coast Online. An initiative headed by local residents has garnered enough support that it stands a chance of being voted on next November.
The petition was drafted by Augusta-based Harness Racing Jobs Fairness LLC before Christmas and was certified by the state just over a month later. Put simply, the initiative, if approved, will make it legal for one casino (or slot parlor) to be located in York County, in a town that will be determined at a later date. Though the state legislator can vote on the petition at any point between now and November, Maine’s state government has historically let its citizens make the final call on these matters, which is why the prevailing belief is that it will stand idle until next November.
According to the petition as it is written now, 10% of slot revenues and 9% of table game revenues brought in by the prospective casino would be put directly into the state’s public school system; something that is quite common. In addition, smaller percentages of revenue would be set aside to aid Native America tribes, drug addiction services, and many other state-sponsored services. In all, the proponents of a new casino are trying to get the site built under the guise that it will provide extra revenue for the state.
Opponents, on the other hand, do not feel as though Maine can support another casino. Whether it be the sparse population or lack of income, there are quite a few reasons some folks feel that another casino is not only a waste of time, but also a waste of money.
A report in 2014 does well to undermine opponents, however, as it makes it very clear that the state can definitely support another casino, and would likely benefit from it. The report said, in part, that, “Based on demographics including population, income, age and propensity to game this facility should be located in southern Maine (Maine beaches) with close proximity and access to Interstate 95. Southern Maine includes not only substantial Maine population but is positioned to draw upon important demographics in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.”
If you look at Oxford and Hollywood casinos in Maine already, it is clear to see that they are performing quite well. The two sites account for almost $150 million in revenue every year, which means the state is benefitting handsomely. Still, opponents come from all corners of the state and country to shut down any and all gambling operations. Whether it is lawmakers who are flat-out opposed to gambling, or communities who do not feel they are being treated fairly, there are always going to be people attempting to get this type of legislation shot down. Despite this, the petition is still going strong and looks like it will be decided upon by next November. What happens between now and then is critical, but the early going is seeing a lot of support garnered for a York County casino.