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Petitions in Maine Hope to Force Casino Vote

29/12/2009
A petition signed by over 90,000 Maine residents has been returned to state election officials in the hope of forcing a referendum on whether to allow the development of a new casino in the area.

In order to get an initiative on the ballot, scheduled for November next year, at least 55,087 valid voters’ signatures will have to be submitted by February 1, with that number being based on 10 percent of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election.

However, with that pre-requisite already comfortably met, the huge support for the petition has demonstrated the people of Maine are ready for change, with Peter Martin of Black Bear Entertainment LLC – developers of the proposed casino resort – triumphantly announcing: “The voters are ready – ready for economic development”.

The backing for the new casino, a four-season resort planned for construction in Oxford, is somewhat surprising given that Maine voters have repeatedly rejected similar initiatives in the past. Since 2003, residents have shot down plans by two of the State’s Indian tribes for a $650 million casino, a planned resort in the Canadian border city of Calais and a proposed new development in Oxford County.

However, with the current economic malaise and the lack of jobs in the state, Martin and casino backers are confident of success this time around, with the proposed new casino aiming to employ over 1,000 people by its third year. “The people of Maine are tired; they’re frustrated,” he explained.
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