Published
Land-BasedCasinoLegal & RegulatoryIndustry

Maine rejects controversial casino proposal

Vote

maineflag
rs in the US state of Maine have unanimously rejected a proposal for a third casino development, backed by casino developer Shawn Scott.

Proponents of the casino development in York County, known as Question 1 after its position on the ballot spent over £10m on a massive advertising campaign in the state championing the casino, claiming that would generate 2,000 new jobs and around $250m in tax revenues during the first five years of operation. The third casino licence is valued at an estimated $200m.

Of the $10 million, the campaign had to spend $4.3 million just to qualify for the ballot, making it the most expensive ballot initiative the history of Maine.

Campaigners spent an additional $3.2 million in the 11 days leading up to Election Day, ploughing money into television, radio and targeted digital advertisements. Goddard Gunster, the Washington DC consulting firm which played a major role in the success Brexit campaign in 2016 were even hired to ensure the success of the campaign.

By comparison the opposing ‘A Bad Deal for Maine’ campaign, funded by the Churchill Downs Oxford Casino, spent just over $660,000 but received over 80% of votes from Maine residents. A key issue during the campaign has been the activities and past record of developer Shawn Scott, labelled by his detractors as ‘shady Shawn’.

Scott, a resident of the US tax haven of Saipan, purchased the Bangor Raceway in Maine 2012 for $1m later leading a successful campaign for the legalisation of slot machines, which passed allowing him to sell on the project for $51m just one year later.

According to a number of reports the referendum contained wording under which Shawn Scott and his Capital Seven LLC company would be the only developer allowed to bid for a $5m licence to build the casino.

Shawn Scott and his sister Lisa are currently under investigation by the Maine Ethics Commission over allegations that they participated in the funding of a $4.3m signature-gathering initiative designed to support the casino, in direct contravention of state laws on full disclosure of funding sources.

Maine governor Paul LePage also berated the campaign over its conduct saying: “This gambling initiative is not an open or fair process, In fact, it’s yet another case of big-money, out-of-state interests using Maine voters to get a sweet deal. Our casino market is already saturated, Opening a casino in York County will not draw new revenue or visitors to the state, it will just shift funds away from our existing casinos.”

Democrat Representative for Ellsworth, Louis Luchini, who spearheaded the probe into Shawn Scott’s activities, congratulated voters for rejecting the proposal saying: “It’s good to see tonight that Mainers aren’t OK with that and will vote against projects that don’t benefit us, but that are funded by out-of-state people.”

No comment has been made by Shawn Scott or the Question 1 campaign at this time.


Casino News Sponsor
Premium+ Connections
Premium
 
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium
 
Premium Connections
Consultancy
Executive Profiles
Seminole Hard Rock Support Services
Metropolitan Gaming
Holland Casino
Nederlandse Loterij
Relax Gaming
Follow Us

Facing Facts: Q1 2024 analysis from across the globe

Gambling Insider tracks the Q1 results of operators across t...

Taking Stock: A guide to sports betting operator and supplier prices

Gambling Insider tracks sports betting operator and supplier...

Tailor-made: The power of personalisation in the modern gaming industry

With insights from GR8 Tech, Greentube and the Oregon Lotter...

Sportradar and the Taiwan Sports Lottery: More offerings, greater efficiency

Danny Fok, VP of Strategic Projects at Sportradar, speaks al...