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In Poor Turnout, Maine Voters Reject Plan For Third Las Vegas-Style Casino In State

Only Casino Ballot Question Nationwide In 2017 Is Defeated


Plans for a $200 million casino project in Maine hit the muck this week after some state voters soundly rejected the idea in a referendum.

According to the Portland Press Herald, supporters of the York County project, who spent about $9 million to get voters on board, conceded defeat with 90 percent of the precincts reporting in. About eighty-three percent of voters opposed the casino, while 17 percent voted “yes” on Question 1.

More than 320,000 people turned out to cast a vote, but the state has 1.3 million people. The state had nearly 1 million registered voters as of last fall, so the turnout was weak.

Las Vegas-based real estate development firm Capital Seven was seeking the exclusive approval to build the state’s third casino. The plan was to invest $200 million into the project and pay the state a $5 million licensing fee, in addition to taxes on slots and table games revenues.

The campaign for the casino stretched back to 2015.

Opposition to the project was led by Churchill Downs, owner of Maine’s Oxford Casino. It was also opposed by Republican Governor Paul LePage. The state’s only other casino, Penn National’s Hollywood Casino in Bangor, also reportedly opposed additional gambling.

According to Ballotpedia, Question 1’s defeat marked the seventh time since 1980 that Maine voters have rejected a gambling proposal on the ballot. Voters approved gambling-related questions just twice, in 2003 for slot machines at racetracks and in 2010 for the Oxford casino.

Maine’s gambling decision was the only casino ballot question nationwide in 2017.

Tags: Maine,   Referendum,   Casino Vote,   Ballot