Question 1, also known as the Maine casino referendum, is a hot topic when it comes to the polling to take place early November in Maine. Approval of this polling question will allow for a new Maine casino to be opened up in York County. Although there are many arguments in favor of opening a new casino, some people do have some concerns about the ballot question. Here is some information about those concerns and how they are being addressed.
Concerns with the Initiative
One of the concerns brought up about the initiative was mentioned by Ben Sprague, a member of the Bangor city council. He was concerned about the wording of the initiative, which would only allow one special interest to pursue the new casino project. This member is Shawn Scott, the vice chairman and director of business development for Bridge Capital. Shawn Scott also had a majority interest in harness racing in Maine for a time, which is what would allow him to gain a permit to open the new casino. He is involved with entertainment and gaming venues across the states as well as internationally. Sprague’s other concern with the initiative is that there are enough casinos already in Maine and he is worried about having additional casinos appearing all over the state. However, if this bill is passed, each new facility being built still needs to be approved by a majority of the local citizens, which will allow for the locals to decide on how many casinos there are. This should put some of the concerns to rest over one person controlling everything and flooding the state with gambling centers.
Louis Luchini is also concerned with the initiative, namely Scott’s involvement in it, due to the fact that both he and his sister, Lisa, are not in Maine, and Lisa Scott spearheaded much of the campaign to get Question 1 on the ballot. His fear is that the Maine casino referendum will be an example of out-of-state interests buying into Maine’s citizen referendum process. However, as with above, there is still a lot of control over the building of these casinos given to local members, so there should not be concern about out-of-state people taking over Maine’s industry.
Benefits of Maine 1
Although there is some opposition to the initiative, there are a lot of benefits that will outweigh the potential risks. For example, having more casinos and a convention center in Maine will stop the citizens from going to other states for events and spending their money there. This will keep the money local, boosting the economy. The new facilities will also bring in tourists from other states that want to come to the events or see the new casino. This will generate new revenue not only for the casino, but also for nearby businesses such as hotels and restaurants, as the tourists will need places to eat and sleep.
In addition to create and maintaining more wealth in Maine, the new casino can help a variety of projects and funds without raising property taxes. Much of the revenue generated will be allocated to important community issues such as education, veteran affairs, the disabled, substance abuse programs and helping people with gambling problems. With enough additional revenue, property taxes may even be lowered over time, allowing to citizens to keep more of their hard-earned money. New jobs will also be created, both due to constructing the new facilities as well as running them once they are done being built.
Before election day, make sure to look into important ballot issues such as the Maine casino referendum. You want to make sure that you have all of the facts to help you make an informed decision.