Thursday, October 18, 2007

Passamaquoddy Referendum in Maine

By Ken Davison

On November 6th, Maine voters will decide on a referendum for a racino to be run by the Passamaquoddy Tribe. If approved, the tribe would move closer to operating a harness racing track with up to 1,500 slot machines.

Although the tribe has over 200,000 acres of land, the slot facility is likely to be built in Calais, in Washington County, where the tribe has options on 700 hundred acres of land, according to reports.

Slot machines are currently allowed at Hollywood Slots near the Bangor Raceway, which opened in 2005. Hollywood Slots is owned by Penn National,which owns 24 casino gaming, horse racing and off-track wagering and slot machine facilities and was the owner of Pocono Downs race track prior to selling it to the Mohegan Tribe for approximately $280 million.

In 2003, a referendum in Maine was approved by voters to allow up to 1,500 slot machines at commercial harness-racing tracks in Bangor and Scarborough. Another Maine tribe, the Penobscot Tribe, has proposed 400 slot machines at their high-stakes bingo facility on Indian Island. The Penobscot´s proposal will be considered in the legislature´s next session.