The Passamaquoddy Tribe and Penobscot Nation of Maine want to put a proposed Washington County casino on the November ballot. The proposal would compete with the non-tribal Black Bear Entertainment’s efforts to bring a casino to Oxford County, already approved for a public vote.
According to Maine law, the approval of one ballot initiative enables competing measures to appear. Voters will have the option of voting for either casino or rejecting both. If neither proposal wins a majority, the one that receives at least a third of the votes will go to the next statewide election.
In 2003, voters rejected a casino in Sanford proposed by the tribes, but approved a non-Indian racino, Bangor’s Hollywood Slots. In 2007, voters turned thumbs down on a Passamaquoddy racino in Washington County.
In 2008, outgoing Governor John Baldacci defeated a bill that would have allowed the Penobscots to add 400 slot machines to their bingo hall. And later that year, voters rejected a Passamaquoddy Tribe initiative for a casino near the Canadian border.
Black Bear Entertainment, a non-tribal Maine investment group, collected more than 100,000 signatures to get its proposal on the ballot. Company spokesman Peter Martin said the tribes should be forced to collect their own signatures, not piggyback on theirs.