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Two new casino bills introduced in legislature

February 20, 2009

AUGUSTA Two new legislative bills have been introduced to authorize casino gambling in Maine.

A bill by Rep. Thomas Watson, D-Bath, would authorize the state to contract with a casino operator after a bidding process. The state would select the location, define the terms of the agreement, and establish the distribution of profits. This bill is in the process in the Legal and Veterans Affairs Committee.

"I don't support casinos in general, but if we're going to have one I'd rather have it managed by the state," said Watson.

A second bill by Rep. Sawin Millett, R-Waterford, would reintroduce a resort casino in Oxford County, which was defeated by voters last November. Millet says "the objectionable pieces" of last year's bill are removed. There are no references to Olympia Gaming, and the state's Gambling Control Board would solicit casino proposals.
Miller explained "Oxford County is desperately in need of economic development opportunities," he said. "I'm hoping I can make a better case (than Olympia gaming did). All of my towns voted for it last year and I've heard from many municipal officers and citizens since then."

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