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Casino group to begin collecting signatures

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October 28, 2009

PORTLAND, Maine - Supporters for a casino in western Maine have organized a new group and plan a signature drive to the issue on next year's ballot. The group, Black Bear Entertainment LLC, hopes to collect 80,000 signatures by February 1st.

The group is led by Stephen Barber, former president of Barber Foods. Its partners and investors are Jim Boldebook, founder of Creative Broadcast Concepts in Biddeford; Robert Lally Jr., a co-owner of Mount Abram ski resort, and Rupert and Suzanne Grover, founders of a specialty drilling company based in Oxford County.

Their spokesman Peter Martin said the proposal calls for an overall gambling taxation rate of roughly 42 percent. Slots would be taxed at 46 percent and table games at 16 percent. It would pay 25 percent of slot proceeds to the state's Essential Program Services model, four percent to University of Maine scholarships and three percent to community colleges.

The antigambling group Casinos NO! said voters have previously rejected a casino in Oxford County, and they will do it again.

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