Voters to Decide if They Want Casino in York County on Election Day

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On Tuesday, voters will decide whether they want a casino in York County.

The citizen's initiative would allow the same entity behind Hollywood Slots in Bangor to build a new gambling destination in southern Maine.

As the referendum is written, only Shaw Scott or one of his entities could operate what would become the third casino in Maine if approved by voters.

Scott first brought gambling to the state over a decade ago and is aiming to build a $200 million facility that would include a hotel and event center somewhere in York county.

"We can provide $45 million of new tax dollars without raising property taxes, or income taxes, or sales taxes so it's a great opportunity," said Scott.

He says construction could be complete in about two and a half years if Mainers approve the measure, which he claims would create thousands of good-paying jobs.

"Basically there would be 2700 construction jobs during the construction phase the first couple of years and then there would be 2100 permanent full time jobs after that going forward," said Scott.

"Question 1 is a terrible deal for Maine for three really big reasons. First, it's a law that's written to benefit just one company. As written, only one company could own a southern Maine casino."

Rep. Louie Luchini chairs the state's Veterans & Legal Affairs Committee, which handles elections, citizen's initiatives as well as casino gambling.

"Secondly, I think this is another example of big out-of-state interests hijacking our citizens initiative process. In fact, this has been funded by out of country money," said Luchini, (D).

Governor LePage has opposed the measure as well calling the YES ON 1 campaign dishonest and misleading. He says the gambling market in Maine is already saturated, and the addition of another casino would not boost the economy.

Scott says it would be an economic engine for southern Maine and would help create a year-round destination spot for tourists generating millions in tax revenue.

"That money goes to education, it goes to seniors, it goes to tax relief. Also our veterans get a part of that money, our agriculture fairs, and our horsemen," said Scott.

Rep. Luchini calls the tax revenue and thousands of jobs promoted by the YES ON 1 campaign 'empty promises.'

"Lastly I think they've run a completely unethical and dishonest campaign from the start. Their campaign finance has been totally non-transparent, they're under an ethics investigation," said Luchini.

While proponents of the casino say everyone wins, opponents believe that as is the case with gambling, the House always wins.

Ultimately voters will decide if it's a good deal for Maine this Election Day.