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Maine Casino Recount Shows No Change in Voting So Far

Dec 5, 2010
Author: Steven Lock
Maine Casino Recount Shows No Change in Voting So Far

Two days of recounting ballots have resulted in no changes to the tally in a vote over whether or not to approve a new casino in Maine. The ballot initiative, known as Question 1, would approve the first full casino in Maine, which would contain both slot machines and table games.

After Election Day, the ballot initiative appeared to have been approved with approximately 51% of the vote, winning by just under 7,000 votes. However, casino opponents, led by the group Casinos No! filed petitions for a recount, thus initiating the recount process.

While there have yet to be any changes to the vote count, both supporters and opponents of the casino say that this comes as no surprise. Thus far, only votes counted by machines have been recounted; starting on Monday, ballots from smaller communities that were hand counted will be looked at, and changes to those tallies are likely. Mathematically, however, it seems unlikely that a recount would change enough votes to alter the outcome of the election.

If successful, the initiative will allow a new casino to be built in the town of Oxford, Maine. Blear Bear Entertainment would operate the casino, which would provide revenue for Maine schools, college scholarships, and for the Penobscot nation and the Passamaquoddy Tribe.

However, opponents of the measure believe that the casino would be bad for Maine. Opponents have cited the possibility of increased crime and gambling addictions, and believe that few tourists will come to Maine with the intention of gambling – meaning that most of the money “coming into Maine” would actually originate from within the state. In addition, businesses in Bangor worried that the new casino would draw traffic away from Hollywood Slots, a slots-only casino located in the city. Opponents countered that even if many of the casino’s patrons were indeed from Maine, a full-fledged casino in the state might help reduce the amount of casino revenue that left the state, as locals would not have to travel out-of-state to gamble.

While the recount may be a long shot for casino opponents, it may not be the final step they take. While it is unclear exactly how it would be structured, some opponents say that a legal challenge may be filed against the casino project after the recount ends.

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