Maine Casino in Oxford County, Question 2 (2008)

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The Casino in Oxford County ballot question was on the November 4, 2008 ballot in Maine. It would have authorized Evergreen Mountain Enterprises to operate a gaming facility at a single site in Oxford County. The measure, an initiated state statute, was defeated.[1]

In December 2009, a similar measure was filed in anticipation of the Maine 2010 ballot.

Election results

Question 2 (2008)
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No389,25153.84%
Yes 333,685 46.16%

Election Results via: Maine Secretary of State

Details of the proposal

( The full text of the initiated Bill is posted at Casino Initiative )

Features of the proposal included:

  • The gaming facility is authorized to contain slot machines, bazaar games conducted solely for merchandise prizes, lottery games, video facsimiles, card games, table games and other games of chance, including without limitation blackjack, poker, dice, roulette, baccarat, money-wheels and bingo.
  • The initiated bill removes the limit on the total number of slot machines that are allowed to be registered in this State.
  • The minimum age to play a slot machine or gaming device is lowered from 21 years of age to 19 years of age.
  • The initiated bill provides that, other than the approved commercial race tracks in the State that operate slot machines, the gaming facility operated by Evergreen Mountain Enterprises, LLC must be the only gaming facility in the State for at least 10 years.
  • The initiated bill provides for regulation of the gaming facility by the Department of Public Safety, Gambling Control Board.
  • Portions of the casino's revenue will fund student loans, research and development of an east-west highway, a biofuel facility, health care and revenue sharing with municipalities.

Program funding[2]

  • 10% percent to assist with student loan repayment, pre-paid college savings plans, FAME’s NextGen First Step Grant Program, and expansion to the Maine Community College System.
  • 6% percent to transportation accessibility including research and development of an east-west highway and improvement of Maine’s secondary rural roads.
  • 6% percent to promote the use of alternative fuels including research into biofuels and bio-heating oil and rebates for resident who purchase hybrid and biodiesel vehicles.
  • 5% percent to making healthcare programs more accessible including affordable healthcare for small businesses and the self-employed and assistance to the elderly with the cost of prescription drugs.
  • 1% percent to towns to be used for regionalization of local government.
  • 1% percent to help fund the raising of the state minimum wage.
  • 2% percent to land conservation including improving the water quality of rivers and monies to the Land For Maine’s Future Program.
  • 1% percent to the General Fund for programs to protect gaming patrons against the risks of gambling.

Support

Supporters included:

  • The Evergreen Mountain Enterprises LLC, which will operate the casino, sponsored the petition. The group has launched the Maine CasinoNow[3] campaign, and is a registered PAC with the State Election Commission and the Ethics Commission.[4]


Required Report of Contributions

Mandatory filing to the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices as of 08/13/08:

$20,084.38 donated by Seth Carey on 05/28/08. No other contributions filed.

Arguments in Support

Notable arguments made in support of the measure inclded:

  • The casino's revenue will fund student loans, research and development of an east-west highway, a biofuel facility, health care and revenue sharing with municipalities

Opposition

Opponents included:

  • Robert Welch of the Gambling Control Board and the Department of Public Safety also spoke against the measure. Since table games aren’t electronic, they can’t be watched through a central monitoring facility, he said. This would force the Department to establish nine new positions in order to regulate the casino.[6]

Arguments in Opposition

Notable arguments made in opposition to the measure included:

  • It calls for the gambling age to be lowered from 21 to 19 and would allow 18-year-olds to work in the casino, both of which are too young.
  • No other casino would be allowed in Maine for 10 years, causing a monopoly on the industry.
  • Carey would also become a voting member on any board receiving casino profits, which is unfair.

Required Report of Contributions

Mandatory filing to the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices as of 08/13/08:

$250 donated by CHARLES W DODGE 44 Kemp Road, Gorham ME 04038, on 02/08/08. No other contributions reported.

Path to the ballot

The Maine Secretary of State certified 59,504 signatures. 4,417 more than needed were valid.[7] That put it in the state legislature's hands—to either enact the initiative exactly as proposed or to let voters decide the issue on the November 2008 ballot.[8]

The measure was killed in legislative committee on April 3, 2008, sending the initiative to the November ballot.[9]

See also


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