The hopes of Maine’s American Indian Tribes and horse racing industry to build casinos died in the Legislature last week as lawmakers insisted that the state must fashion a regulatory process before approving any new slot machines. Maine has been split on the idea of more slots or full casinos, since Oxford & Hollywood have done so well. Obviously the two casinos in Maine would like it to stay just two. Some lawmakers said they need more time to answer questions about how more slot machines would impact a state with just slightly more than 1 million residents, even though Maine is drawing gamblers from northern New England, Massachusetts and Canada.
But casino backers like the Passamaquoddy Tribe, which views slots as vital to its community’s economic survival, said that’s the same argument it has heard for more than 20 years.
“It’s just a delay tactic,” said Joseph Socobasin, chief of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township, who backed the bill to bring a casino to Washington County. A proposal that would have allowed the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians to build a casino in Aroostook County and Scarborough Downs racetrack’s measure — a resort casino with a hotel, swimming pools and restaurant in southern Maine — both died in the Democratic-controlled Senate after initially clearing the House.
Whatever the case, it will be a few more years before this is re-visited. In that time, it will be interesting if Oxford & Hollywood try an expansion, since they argued that Maine could not sustain more gambling facilities.
That’s all for now.