Shawn Scott won voter approval for a racino in Bangor, then sold the track to Penn National after a state investigation found so many questions about him it looked like they would deny his license.
His return to Maine comes at a time when the gaming industry is trying to pawn off a bill on voters that supposedly was written to regulate casinos to avoid these kinds of problems – except that our current law already provide these protections.
LD 1280 is a money grab. It does nothing to further control gambling in Maine. Knowing that passing a referendum question for a casino in Scarborough is more difficult with a statewide vote, gambling interests have convinced many legislators that only a county vote is necessary. It actually makes it easier.
The bill and Scott make the same promises about money flooding in to save harness racing and creating more jobs and money. Last year the Bangor casino asked the city to cut their property value $36.8 million. New businesses are not springing up all around the Oxford casino.
The bill includes a provision for $25 million for Bangor or Oxford if one their casinos fail, acknowledging the cannibalization of money from the current casinos. It should give everyone pause because even the Whitesand report finds 80 percent of revenue from a new casino will come from Maine residents, jeopardizing the very jobs and easy money promised.
Karen A. D’Andrea