Timing is always such a tenuous line. While NETG (NE Time Gambling) wanted to be “timely” on the approval news for Monday, it didn’t take long for the legislature in Maine to turn that possibility into ‘ain’t happenin’ here!
The Legislature’s appetite for an expansion of gambling in Maine revealed itself to be nonexistent Tuesday with the rejection of a second pro-casino bill in as many days. On Monday, the Senate put the billed approved by the house to sleep that would have allowed for a competitive bid process for a tribal-run casino in Aroostook County or Washington County.
At present, the state of Maine hosts two commercial casinos – Hollywood Casino Hotel and Raceway in the city of Bangor and Oxford Casino in the city of Oxford. (In addition, the state has one establishment of Native American type, which is owned and managed by the Penobscot Indian Nation). Opponents questioned the need for more gambling in a small state that already has two casinos. They also pointed to voters’ repeated rejection of more casinos. Of course, among the concerns voiced by opponents of both bills was that either of them would erode business for Maine’s two existing casinos in Bangor and Oxford.
The expansion of casinos has been under debate for years but consistently has been turned back by the Legislature, mostly because of arguments that Maine has no overall casino gaming policy that identifies what casinos should pay and where that revenue should go. Maine’s existing casinos were approved by referendum.
Since Wynn Everett seems unlikely to open before 2017, it seems Maine still needs to see what kind of influence Plainridge Park has on their existing casinos, and if gaming revenue from Oxford & Hollywood stabilizes – Hollywood has shown some weakness recently by Oxford’s competition and Oxford has seen a modest decline, although they continue to be a success in southern Maine.
That’s all for now.