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Maine Slots at Horse Tracks Initiative, Question 2 (2003)

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Maine Question 2, also known as An Act to Allow Slot Machines at Commercial Horse Racing Tracks, was on the November 4, 2003 election ballot in Maine as an initiated state statute where it was approved.

Question 2 allows slot machines at certain commercial horse racing tracks if part of the proceeds are used to lower prescription drug costs for the elderly and disabled, and for scholarships to the state universities and technical colleges.

Election results

Maine Question 2
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 272,394 52.9%
No242,49047.1%

Text of measure

The language that appeared on the ballot:

This initiated bill allows the operation of slot machines by certain persons who are licensed to operate a commercial track. A person under 21 years of age is prohibited from playing a slot machine.

The initiated bill provides for regulation of the operation of slot machines by the State Harness Racing Commission and the Executive Director of the State Harness Racing Commission within the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources.

Gross income from slot machines, which is income after payback to players, is divided as follows: 75% is retained by the person licensed to operate the slot machines; 10% must be sent to the State Controller to be credited directly to the Fund for a Healthy Maine with its use restricted to providing financial assistance with prescription drugs for adults who are elderly or disabled; 7% must be sent to the State Harness Racing Commission to be used to supplement harness racing purses; 3% must be forwarded to the Treasurer of State who shall credit the money to the Agricultural Fair Support Fund; 2% must be forwarded to the Finance Authority of Maine for application to its University of Maine System Scholarship Fund; 1% must be sent to the commission for application to administrative expenses, including expenditures by the commission for addiction counseling services; 1% must be sent to the board of trustees of the Maine Technical College System for application to its scholarship program and 1% must be sent to the commission for application to its Sire Stakes Fund.

Aftermath

Nearly 7 years following the 2003 vote, some lawmakers are questioning whether the measure was implemented as voters expected. In August 2010 Danielle Fox, a policy analyst for the Legislature's Legal and Veterans Affairs Committee broke down the way in which slot revenue was used in the state. Of the $27 million in revenue in 2009, about $1.5 million went to scholarships and $5 million went to the Healthy Maine Fund. The rest, she said, went to accounts to support harness racing. According to reports, more than $11.4 million in 2009 went towards supporting the state's racing industry and agricultural fairs.[1] Rep. Linda Valentino said, "My concern has always been the revenue we receive from the racino may not be what the voters intended. I think if we add up all of the numbers from 2005 to now, did the voters really intend to be giving tens of millions of dollars -- almost $100 million away -- to these other people that were not listed on the ballot?" State officials said in August 2010 that they plan to continue discussing the issue.[2]

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