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Maine Racino Initiative, Question 1 (2007)

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Maine Question One, also known as the "Maine Racino Initiative of 2007," appeared on the Maine ballot on November 6, 2007. The measure failed, with 52% voting against it and 48% voting for it.[1]

Election results

Maine Question 1 (2007)
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No130,56752%
Yes 121,873 48%

The initiative would have authorized the operation of slot machines at a tribal commercial track under the supervision of the Maine Gambling Control Board. It also would have authorized the issuance of a high-stakes beano license to a federally recognized Indian tribe to operate games on nontribal land in Washington County, Maine. The slots and beano machines would have been in conjunction with a horse racing track.

The combination of a racing track and a casino is known as a "racino." The Washington County Passamaquoddy Indian gambling establishment, if this initiative had passed, was expected to house 1,500 slot machines.[2]

Maine Question One is one of just four ballot measures that appeared across the country in November 6, 2007 through the process of initiative.

Background

Maine Question One was sponsored by the Passamaquoddy Indian tribe based in Washington County. Approximately 68,000 signatures were submitted to qualify it for the ballot. 50,519 valid signatures were required. In Maine, all signatures are checked individually. Secretary of State Matt Dunlap announced in January 2007 that 51,096 of the submitted signatures had been judged as valid--a margin of just 477 valid signatures.

Once the signatures were certified, the state legislature had the option of passing the legislation without putting it on the ballot, or of punting it to a statewide vote. The Maine state house voted to approve the measure by a vote of 82-60.[3]. The Maine Senate also approved the measure, but on a voice vote (without recording individual votes). Subsequently, Gov. Baldacci vetoed the measure, and the legislature did not have enough votes to overcome the veto.[4] Hence, the measure went to the ballot, where Maine's voters rejected it.[5][6]

Opponents of the measure

The official organization opposing the racino measure was called CasinosNo!. CasinosNo! successfully opposed a 2003 statewide measure that would have authorized a slot machine in Sanford. It also helped to defeat referendum votes in Saco and Westbrook in 2003 to make Scarborough Downs a racino.[7]

The Racino Initiative of 2007 was also opposed by the Christian Civic League of Maine.[8]

Objections to the gambling expansion initiative included:

  • Concerns about gambling addiction
  • Concerns about higher crime rates in areas near casinos
  • Belief that casinos take advantage of poor and less-educated people.[9]

See also

External links

References