After spending nearly $10 million during a two-year campaign, proponents of bringing a third casino to the north-eastern state of Maine reportedly suffered a resounding defeat on Tuesday after voters overwhelmingly snubbed Question One on the ballot.
According to a report from the Portland Press Herald newspaper, some 83% of voters rejected the Question One proposal to sanction a casino for York County in the extreme south-western corner of the state despite assertions from supporters that passing the measure would lead to more than 2,000 new jobs and $45 million in annual tax revenues.
The newspaper reported that the wording of the measure would have permitted an entity known as Capital Seven to open a venue joining the Hollywood Casino Hotel and Raceway Bangor, which is owned by Gaming and Leisure Properties Incorporated and operated by Penn National Gaming Incorporated, and Churchill Downs Incorporated’s Oxford Casino in being able to offer Class III table games and slots.
The Portland Press Herald estimated that the proposed York County casino license, which was to be utilized at a site in the seaside town of Old Orchard Beach, could have been worth up to $200 million and would have seen Capital Seven required to pay a $5 million licensing fee while agreeing to hand over 39% of its slot revenues and 16% of its takings from table games.
But, the newspaper reported that the campaign to license a third Maine casino was hurt after it became clear that Capital Seven was an entity of controversial property developer Shawn Scott. The Las Vegas-based businessman purportedly purchased the struggling Bangor Raceway before successfully bankrolling a 2003 campaign that transformed the Penobscot County facility into the state’s first casino. He then subsequently pocketed approximately $51 million by selling his stake to Gaming and Leisure Properties Incorporated, which rechristened the property as its Hollywood Casino Hotel and Raceway Bangor.
According to a report from the Bangor Daily News newspaper, the campaign to bring a casino to York County was additionally damaged on Friday when the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices handed out a record $500,000 fine to four ballot question committees being run by Scott’s sister, Lisa. These were purportedly penalized for failing to meet reporting deadlines and incorrectly declaring the sources of around $4.5 million that they had utilized in order to get Question One before the voters.