Maine Voters Say No to New Casino

voteVoters in Maine this week said No to the building of a new casino in York County, with over 80% of those polled defeating a massive and costly campaign.

Before the final votes were tallied, casino entrepreneur, and the man behind the intensive two year campaign to bring another casino the state, Shawn Scott, addressed his supporters by saying: “We really love this state, it’s a great place and it will always be special in our hearts, it will continue to be. That being said, the results don’t look encouraging and we are, of course disappointed with the outcome. I want to thank everyone for joining in what we thought, and still believe is a great project for Maine.”

For several years, Scott’s campaign to persuade Maine voters to say Yes on Question 1 in the November 2017 referendum, has been running. He bought space on television, radio and cable and lobbied frenziedly for what he said was a good project for Maine.

Scott tried to convince voters that a casino in York County would bring in jobs and extra revenue to the state.

$500,000 Fine to Casino Campaigners

From the beginning, however, Scott’s campaign was riddled with controversy.  Voters were asked to say yes to the right for one company – Scott’s Capital Seven – to apply for a casino license. Capital Seven would have been the only company to receive this license, for which it would have paid the state $5 million in fees.

Besides the exclusivity element in the bill, which made many uncomfortable, the campaigning to pass it also raised many ethical questions. Last week, the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices slapped four ballot question committees with a total of $500,000 in fines. All four lobbies were working to push for the authorizing of the casino in York County. According to the Commission, the committees had failed to hit reporting deadlines, nor did they disclose the source of their funding. It was later disclosed that three of the committees were set up by Lisa Scott, a sibling to Shawn Scott.

This fine is at least 10 times higher than a levy imposed on the National Organization for Marriage in 2014.  Lisa Scott said that she would appeal the stiff fine.


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