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Maine set to have gambling expansion referendum

TAGs: Gambling Expansion, Maine

us horseracing lossesWith a sputtering economy and unemployment on the rise, the topic of gambling expansion has become a hot one in many states across the United States.

In Maine, a gambling expansion referendum is on the way with a Nov. 8 ballot that will ask residents if they want to allow slot machines at a track in Biddeford or another community within 25 miles of the Scarborough Downs race track and at a track in Washington County. Ocean Properties Ltd. and Scarborough Downs are teaming up on the proposal to build a track called Biddeford Downs.

Already backers of the gambling expansion have launched their campaign and speaking at a horse farm, leaders of the “Yes on Question 2” campaign said the $120 million development will create 800 construction jobs and 500 full-time jobs once it opens, while generating more than $54 million in tax revenues.

As always, opponents of the gambling expansion were quick to sing a different tune, arguing that the proposed racino would instead “suck money out” of the economy, said Dennis Bailey, executive director of CasinosNo!

According to Bailey, “It won’t revive harness racing, and it won’t improve economic development for Biddeford or for Maine,” he said. “The evidence is crystal clear.” – Business Week

Maine and gambling have gone together since the state opened its lottery in 1974. Gambling revenue has always been an integral part of Maine’s budget. So it is difficult to understand why the evidence is so clear that gambling expansion won’t help Maine.

Additionally, if gambling expansion won’t help the economy in Maine, why are states like Massachusetts and New York considering the same option?

Rick Skoglund, a businessman from Waldoboro said it best,”We’re not breaking any new ground, but what will happen is that for the first time we can have a resort that combines harness racing, slots and a hotel that will provide an attractive facility for Mainers and tourists alike.” – Business Week

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