This initiated bill authorizes the Maine Gambling Control Board to license one additional slot machine facility or casino that meets applicable criteria within a qualifying host municipality. The community must have a population of at least 30,000 people; it must not have had any slot machines in operation there as of July 1, 2010; the license applicant must hold an option, in effect on July 1, 2010, to purchase property owned by the municipality; and that option must have been approved by municipal voters as of that date. The city of Lewiston is the only municipality in Maine that meets these criteria. (Lewiston is one of only three municipalities in Maine with a population over 30,000, and the voters of Lewiston approved the sale of an option on city-owned property in the Bates Mill for this purpose prior to July 1, 2010.)
The legislation also makes any facility that is licensed to operate slot machines, under this initiative or under existing law, automatically eligible to obtain a license for any other gambling-related activity authorized by law after July 1, 2010 "regardless of the criteria imposed or required to obtain such a license." Because the voters in November 2010 approved the licensing of a casino in Oxford County to operate table games as well as slot machines, and the Legislature has since amended the law to allow the Hollywood Slots facility in Bangor to obtain a casino license to operate table games, this means that a new slot machine facility in Lewiston would be eligible to receive a casino license to operate table games.
The initiated bill exempts a slot machine facility or casino in Lewiston from the restriction in existing law that prohibits the Gambling Control Board from issuing a license for a facility located within 100 miles of another licensed slot machine facility. The bill also repeals the statewide limit on the number of slot machines and provides that a slot machine operator may not operate more than 1,500 slot machines at any one slot machine facility.
Forty percent (40%) of the net slot machine income from a facility licensed under this initiated bill would be turned over to the Gambling Control Board for distribution in specified percentage amounts, ranging from one half of one percent to three percent, to approximately 28 different state and local entities and programs. These are listed in section 10 of the bill, as 8 M.R.S.A. §1036, sub-§2-A, paragraphs A Z, AA and BB, and include a variety of economic development and transportation initiatives, as well as programs for energy conservation, water quality improvement, tourism, college scholarships, agricultural fairs, meals on wheels, home-based care for the elderly, humane societies, veterans and other charities, and funds for unrestricted use by Lewiston, Auburn and Androscoggin County. One percent (1%) of the gross slot machine income would be paid into the States General Fund for administrative expenses of the Gambling Control Board.
If approved, this citizen initiated legislation would take effect 30 days after the Governor proclaims the official results of the election.
A "YES" vote is to enact the legislation.
A "NO" vote is to defeat the legislation.
Do you want to allow a casino with table games and slot machines in Lewiston, with part of the profits going to support specific state and local programs?