Maine Looks to Build First Casino in Oxford County

The state of Maine is quite a place. It has some of the most picturesque coastline in the world. During the fall the changing of the foliage color is amazing. With thousands of lakes is it any wonder that kids’ summer camps have become a long standing institution in Maine. There is great shopping and dining among its beautiful cobblestone villages. It is home to famous vacation spots of former presidents. Don’t forget about the tasty lobster! What more could you ask for? How about a casino!

New to the Industry

Maine is one of the few states left that is new to the casino gambling industry. At the moment no casino exists in Maine but recent events may have cleared the way for construction of their first casino. During the recent mid-term elections voters narrowly approved a proposal to build a casino in Oxford County. Black Bear Entertainment, the company that was formed to promote and develop the casino, has yet to choose a location. The company is currently evaluating five sites along route 26 in Oxford.

Recount Halted

The initial proposal passed but only by less than one percent of the vote. This prompted opponents of the casino, from the group Casinos NO!, to demand a recount in hopes to overturn the decision. After 20% of the votes had been recounted it was clear that there was no appreciable change in the outcome. Thus, opponents have requested a halt to the recount and have for all intents and purposes ended the official opposition to the proposal.

Impact

Black Bear Entertainment has given encouraging estimates of what this proposal means to Oxford County as well as the state itself. With a tough year of almost 10% unemployment in the county, the new casino would create a welcome opportunity of work for local residents. The company plans to build a $165 million, 100,000 square foot casino and resort in phases over the next five years. Construction itself would create around 800 jobs. The casino and resort would create more than 1700 year round jobs and generate at least $60 million in revenue that would be directed to specific state programs. Among these state programs are several education funds that involve k-12 schools as well as scholarships to state universities and community colleges. With the recount halted Black Bear Entertainment plans to hire planners and engineers immediately to help it select a site and begin the permitting process.

So if you travel to Maine any time soon keep your eyes open for moose, lighthouses, colorful leaves and now possibly a slot machine or two!

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