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October 30, 2017

York casino proponents outspend opponents $9M to $600K

Proponents of Question 1, the statewide ballot initiative seeking voter approval for a casino somewhere in York County, have spent more than $3.8 million, according to new campaign finance reports filed with the state and posted on Friday.

Maine Public reported that the all told the pro-casino campaign has spent more than $9 million — including $4 million spent by ballot question committees that gathered signatures to get the proposal on the ballot, $1.7 million on TV ads, $127,000 on radio ads and $700,000 to a Washington, D.C. consulting firm that helped convince British voters to leave the European Union last year.

By comparison, Maine Public reported the leading opposition group, A Bad Deal for Maine has spent more than $600,000, about half on TV ads. Most of its funding is from Black Bear Development LLC, the business name for the Oxford Casino owned by Kentucky-based Churchill Downs.

If approved, the York facility would be a direct competitor to the Oxford Casino, which opened in June 2012 and has 850 slot machines and 26 table games.

Maine Public also reported that the pro-York casino campaign is under investigation by the Maine Ethics Commission because its funding from casino developer Shawn Scott, or a company he controls, was hidden for more than a year. The commission is slated to discuss that investigation on Tuesday.

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