Online Slots News

Black Bear Entertainment Hopes to Construct Slots Casino in Western Maine

Leaders of a new organization that is starting a new effort to win public approval for a casino facility in Western Maine is ready to start collecting signatures to force a vote next year. Black Bear Entertainment LLC hopes to collect eighty thousand signatures before February 1st, 2010. Spokesman Peter Martin said that would be more than enough to ensure that the casino plan goes to a vote in November 2010.

The organization sought to distance itself from a previous attempt to construct a gaming facility in Oxford County. That proposal, which was dismissed last November 2008 after even its supporters acknowledged its drawbacks, would lowered the age limit for casino gaming to nineteen years old, placed a decade moratorium on competing casino facilities and place the casino president on a number of boards that benefit from the casino's gaming revenues.

Martin said that the new gaming proposal eliminates those drawbacks while allotting thirty-two percent of slot machine proceeds to state education and giving a boost to the economy of Oxford County, which has the second-highest unemployment rate in the state of Maine.

The anti-gaming group Casinos NO! stated that Maine residents already dismissed a proposed casino in Oxford County and they will do it again. Spokesperson Dennis Bailey said that Black Bear are just trying to push for the same thing and expect a different outcome. He added that there is no reason why Maine residents would change their mind on the issue.

The dream of casino gaming has been ongoing since 2003 when the Penobscot and Passamaquoddy Indian tribes pushed for a $650 million gaming facility in Sanford. That measure was dismissed at the polls but the voters gave their approval for a racing track casino. That result to Bangor's Hollywood Slots facility. Since then, efforts to expand gaming in Maine have failed.

Governor John Baldacci dismissed a Passamaquoddy-supported bull to create a racino in Washington County and the state Legislature dismissed a Penobscot-supported bill to permit slot machines on Indian Island. Then state voters dismissed the Oxford County casino last year.

As with the previous casino campaign, supporters say that both the Oxford County and the Maine economy would benefit greatly from the gaming proposal, which would create one thousand new jobs. This time, there is a new group headed by Stephen Barber, the former president of Barber Foods.

Gaming partners and investors included Jim Boldebrook, the founder of Creative Broadcast Concepts, an advertising group in Biddeford; Robert Lally Jr., a partner at the Mount Abram ski resort and Rupert and Suzanne Grover, the founders of a specialty drilling group based in Oxford County. Peter Martin said that this is not a casino facility that happens to offer a resort but it is a four-season resort that happens to offer a casino.

But gaming revenue is still the main force behind the proposal. The casino proposal calls for an overall gaming taxation rate of 42%. The slot machines at the casino would be taxed at 46% and the casino table games at 16%. Martin said that education would be the largest beneficiary of the gaming proceeds.

Twenty-five percent of slot machine earnings would be allocated to for the Maine's Essential Program Services model, four percent would be given to the University of Main scholarships and three percent would be given to community colleges.

Two Indian tribes thwarted in their attempts to construct a casino and install slot machines-the Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribe-would receive four percent. One percent of the gaming revenues would go to the Maine Dairy Farm Stabilization Fund, the town, county and Gambling Board would also receive a portion from the revenues.

Penobscot tribe Chief Kirk Francis said that he had not been approached by the Black Bear group. Francis said that he has some doubts on the plan but he is willing to talk. He added that they are always hesitant about getting involved in these kinds of issue because you never know what the real motive is.


Monday, 09 November 2009
Cindy Alfonso