In Maine, a representative from the Passamaquoddy tribe reportedly testified in front of state lawmakers earlier this week in hopes of helping to get a legislation passed that would see ‘The Pine Tree State’ open its very first aboriginal casino.
According to a report from CalvinAyre.com, Rena Newell (pictured) from the federally-recognized tribe told the joint Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee in Augusta that legalizing an aboriginal casino for Maine would assist in improving her group’s economic situation while allowing it to further advance its relationship with the state.
Pair of proposals:
Maine lawmakers are currently considering two separate pieces of legislation that could see the state of approximately 1.3 million people legalize a tribal gaming facility. One proposal would purportedly allow the Passamaquoddy to operate some 50 slot machines at an existing Washington County bingo hall in exchange for agreeing to hand over 25% of any associated revenues.
But, the passage of a second and more complicated piece of legislation would give the Passamaquoddy permission to partner with several other local tribes such as the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, the Aroostook Band of Micmacs and the Penobscot Nation in order to open a larger facility featuring slot and table games. To allay any competition concerns, this measure purportedly mandates that any such venue be located at least 50 miles away from the eastern state’s two existing commercial casinos in Oxford County and Penobscot County.
Maine is already home to the Hollywood Casino Bangor from Penn National Gaming Incorporated as well as Churchill Downs Incorporated’s Oxford Casino Hotel and opponents of the proposed legislation have reportedly argued that authorizing a third casino could see the largely rural state become over saturated.
As such, the General Manager for Oxford Casino Hotel, Jack Sours, used his time in front of the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee to declare that the casino market in Maine ‘has simply stopped growing’ following an extended period of progress. He proclaimed that any increased competition would only ‘move dollars from one’ casino to another and lead to ‘little or no benefit to the state.’
Sours reportedly told the assembled legislators…
“Expanding gaming in Maine, like has occurred in other jurisdictions to the point of saturation, will hurt the existing facilities, cost jobs and stagnate their development. If you choose to expand gaming at this time, you will kill this successful economic engine for Oxford County.”