Measure to approve tribally-operated casino advances in Maine

In 2003, voters authorized the Hollywood Casino in Bangor, Maine, while rejecting a gaming facility for tribes. Photo from Facebook

The Maine House approved a bill that would authorize a tribally-owned casino in the northern part of the state.

LD 1446 authorizes a casino in Washington County or Aroostook County. Voters in either county would have to approve the facility by referendum.

“This is a significant achievement,” Rep. Henry John Bear, the sole remaining tribal representative in the Legislature, told The Bangor Daily News. “This would be the first time in history that the state of Maine will license a multimillion-dollar business to be operated by the tribes. I believe that the tribal leaders will come together on this.”

Bear represents the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians. The tribe supports a gaming facility in northern Maine.

The Penobscot Nation and the Passamaquoddy Tribe (Pleasant Point and Indian Township) have long sought gaming. The tribes withdrew their representatives from the Legislature amid worsening relations with the state.

Tribal casinos historically have not received favorable receptions among lawmakers and voters. But tribes hope this year will be different because a report commissioned by the Legislature suggests there is room in the state for more gaming facilities.

Some Maine tribes are in a unique situation because they fall under land claim settlements that subject their reservations to state law. As a result, they cannot follow the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

Get the Story:
Tribal casino bid gains support in State House (The Bangor Daily News 6/20)

Related Stories
Maine lawmakers introduce bills to authorize casinos for tribes (04/28)
Houlton Band hopes to avoid statewide referendum on casino bid (04/09)
Lawmaker from Houlton Band introduces bill to authorize casino (04/08)
Maine tribes hopeful for casino as lawmakers examine new study (09/11)
Report suggests path for a tribal gaming facility in northern Maine (09/03)

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