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Maine Calais Casino Measure (2010)

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Maine Calais Casino Measure did not appear on the November 2, 2010 statewide ballot in Maine after both the House and the Senate rejected the competing measures in early April 2010.

According to state law the Maine Legislature can place a competing measure on the ballot and with the proposal of the Maine Casino Initiative - an effort to place a casino in Oxford County - Maine's Wabanaki nations attempted to do just that.[1]

Had both the Calais Casino Measure and the Oxford County Measure appeared on the ballot, according to the Deputy Secretary of State, "The ballot would present the measures in such a way that they could vote for either the initiative or the competing measure or reject both." The winning measure would have had to receive a majority of the vote - at least 50 percent plus 1. If neither measure had receive a majority of the vote, then the measure with the most votes would move to the next statewide election.[1]


The Penobscots and Passamaquoddy nations have made several attempts to create Indian gaming in Maine, but have yet to succeed. The Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act has been interpreted by the state, according to reports, as prohibiting three nations from conducting gaming under the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.[2]

In 2003, Maine Tribal Gaming Initiative (2003) was defeated by voters, however that same year voters approved Maine Slots at Horse Tracks Initiative (2003). The Tribal Gaming Initiative proposed allowing the Passamaquoddy Tribe and the Penobscot Nation to conduct gaming and wagering at a single site. In 2008, according to reports, Gov. John Baldacci defeated a bill that would have allowed the Penobscots to add 400 slot machines to its current bingo operation.[2]

Path to the ballot

According to Maine law, once enough signatures on a proposed ballot measure have been collected, a competing measure mechanism kicks in and another party can add a question.[2]

Competing casino measure

Following the March 2010 rejection of the Oxford Casino measure by the legislature and the placement on the ballot, three competing measures were proposed.[3][4]

  1. One measure would authorize the casino in Oxford and add table games at Hollywood Slots in Bangor and a new Washington County casino, which would be run by the Passamaquoddy Tribe.
  2. A second measure would allow Hollywood Slots to add table games and give limited slots to two tribes.
  3. The third option would allow the state to have competitive binds for casinos with preference of one of the four state Native American tribes.

On Friday, April 2 the House voted 83-59 to indefinitely postpone a competing bill, therefore allowing for the Oxford Casino Initiative to appear on the ballot alone.[5][6] The Senate voted 26-8 on April 5 against the proposed competing measures, securing the Oxford Initiative on the 2010 ballot.[7]

Opposition to use of "competing measure"

Peter Martin of Black Bear Entertainment and proponent of the Maine Casino Initiative (2010) said, "Competing measures generally are used by the Legislature when they believe the initiated bill is not in the best interest of the public -- I don't believe that's the case here. Additionally Martin argued that the "competing measure" process was usually not used by groups or individuals to "take a shortcut around the process" and if that was the case then "we do have a problem with the process if that was allowed to happen. We'd like to go out clean, we'd like the peoaple of this state -- over 100,000 of them signed this petition -- to get to look at this issue. I don't believe it serves the interests of the Passamaquoddy's or us to have a competing measure because, pretty much, they'll both lend itself to giving it to the 'no's."[8]

See also

Related measures