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June 7, 2011

House OKs two gambling bills

Two bills that would pave the way for three new gambling facilities in Maine received House support Monday.

Following lengthy debate, House lawmakers voted to approve LD 1203, which would authorize the development of two racinos in Biddeford and Calais, according to the Bangor Daily News. Horse-racing facility Scarborough Downs has proposed relocating to Biddeford and adding slot machines, a measure that Biddeford residents approved in November. Scarborough Downs has partnered with New Hampshire-based hotel developer Ocean Properties to develop the project. The bill also allows the Passamaquoddy Tribe to operate a racino in Washington County. Representatives also approved LD 985, which allows for a casino in Lewiston.

Last month, a legislative panel gave the bills an ought-not-to-pass recommendation, instead urging the Legislature to allow the measures to go before voters in a statewide referendum. The bills still face votes in the Senate and approval from Gov. Paul LePage, who previously indicated he would veto them in order to send them to referendum.  All three initiatives have gathered enough signatures to put them on the November ballot.

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