Maine Considers More Casino Expansion


Everywhere you look in New England, there is more expansion of gambling. Maine seemed quiet for a while, with Oxford and Hollywood Casinos making fabulous revenue for the state and themselves. There seems to be a bigger pie to share in Maine – although the two casinos oppose any expansion.

It seems there are three possibilities on deck for the legislators to discuss.

1) Supporters of Scarborough Downs gathered at the Maine State House for another push to bring casino style gambling to the Southern Maine race track. At the end of this month another season of live harness racing will kick off at Scarborough Downs. The track’s owner is warning it could very well be the last. “We are trying to survive on duct tape and Band-Aids…”

Two hours to the north of Scarborough Downs, the harness track in Bangor has a casino right across the street. Two hours to the south in Plainville, Mass., the harness track was just awarded a license to set up a Racino with slot machines. Owner Sharon Terry said all she wants is a fair opportunity for New England’s oldest harness track to compete.

2) Maine’s American Indian tribes that have long seen gambling as the remedy for high unemployment and sluggish economic growth in their communities are a step closer to being able to operate casinos. For years the Passamaquoddy tribe has faced rejection from voters in getting a racino built in Washington County. The tribe is now going to try again.

3) Meanwhile the Maliseet Indians in Aroostook County say they want to open their own casino, with the same legislative opening given to the Passamaquoddy tribe.

In case you’re not counting, I’ll do it for you. If all legislation in New England passed as of today, the numbers would be:

CT – 2 resort casinos; RI – 1 resort , 1 slots-only casino; MA – 3 resort casinos, 1 slots-only casino; NH – 2 proposed casinos; 2 full casinos, 3 racinos.

Total = 15 gambling facilities in New England!

It won’t happen, but it’s interesting when considering the possibilities.

That’s all for now.



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