Separate bills to allow civic groups to operate slot machines and establish a statewide commission to recommend guidelines for future gambling operations were passed yesterday by the House. Both await future votes in the Senate.
According to the Portland Press Herald, a bill to allow veterans and charitable fraternal organizations, such American Legion posts and Eagle/Elks clubs, to operate up to five slot machines passed by a 88-57 vote. The bill would set a statewide 250-machine cap, require the groups to pay 8% to the state general fund, 10% to the Gambling Control Board and 2% to gambling prevention and treatment efforts. LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett told the paper the governor has not yet taken a position on the bill, which awaits a final vote in the Senate and is being opposed by the Christian Civic League of Maine.
Meanwhile, the Kennebec Journal reports the House gave preliminary approval to bill to establish an 18-member commission to study the impact to state-approved casinos in Bangor and Oxford and issue recommendations by February 2014 for establishing a competitive bidding process for new gaming venues. The bill, which would prohibit the state from accepting new applications for casinos or racinos after September, faces more votes in the House and Senate, according to the paper.