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Governor’s Address: Question 1 is about a Third Casino, Not Education or Jobs

Once again, special interest groups are not being honest and upfront about a ballot initiative.

Dear Maine Taxpayer,

Question 1 on the ballot this November is not a referendum on funding our schools. It is not about creating new jobs or lowering taxes. Make no mistake: it is about putting a third Maine casino in York County. It’s about gambling, plain and simple.

Gambling and casinos are controversial, so ad campaigns focus on other things, like jobs or funding for schools. But voters need to know what they are really voting on.

Question 1 doesn’t even mention jobs, education or taxes, so voters could be easily confused by the ads they are seeing. Question 1 asks:

“Do you want to allow a certain company to operate table games and/or slot machines in York County, subject to state and local approval, with part of the profits going to the specific programs described in the initiative?”

The question on the ballot says nothing about taxes, schools or jobs.

Here’s another way Question 1 is misleading. The legislation behind the question is written in such a way that only one entity can even qualify to apply for the gaming license.

In other words, the person who wrote the legislation or his companies are the only legal entities that can apply for the gambling license.

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. But it’s a phony deal for Maine.

Supporters of Question 1 are using a bait-and-switch tactic that has nothing to do with funding schools or creating jobs. Their promises of boosting our economy are overblown.

Our casino market is already saturated. Maine has two casinos, one in Oxford and one Bangor. Further, two huge casinos are being built in Massachusetts that will attract residents of Maine.

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. It could destroy the casinos in Oxford and Bangor.

Let’s be honest about Question 1. Proponents spent $4.3 million in out-of-state money to get this question on the ballot. They want to put a third casino in Maine, but only one person will be able to apply for the gaming license. It’s a stacked deck.

Once again, Maine’s referendum process has been highjacked by big money, out-of-state interests hoping to pull the wool over your eyes. Before you cast your vote, remember what Question 1 is really about. It’s about gambling. Period.

Thank You,

Paul R. LePage

Governor

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