Maine lawmakers kill bill to authorize tribally-operated casino

The Oxford Casino, a non-Indian gaming facility in Maine. Photo from Facebook

Hopes for a tribal casino in Maine were dashed on Monday when the state Senate killed a bill to authorize a facility in the northern part of the state.

Rep. Henry John Bear, the sole remaining tribal representative in the Legislature, was hopeful that LD 1446 could be resurrected since the bill cleared the House last week by a wide margin. But media reports said the bill was essentially dead.

Bear represents the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians. The new casino, which would have required local approval, would have been in the tribe's area.

The state is home to two non-Indian casinos in the central and southern parts of the state. A 2014 report commissioned by the Legislature indicated the market could sustain a northern casino.

The report also suggested a tribal preference due to the unique legal situation in the state. The Houlton Band, the Penobscot Nation and the Passamaquoddy Tribe (Pleasant Point and Indian Township) cannot follow the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act due to provisions in their land claim settlements that place their reservations under state law.

The Penobscot Nation and the Passamaquoddy Tribe withdrew their representatives from the Legislature amid worsening relations with the state.

Get the Story:
For second year in a row, bid for tribal casino blocked in Maine Senate (The Bangor Daily News 6/23)
Tribal Casino Bill in Trouble, Despite Strong Support in Maine House (Maine Public Broadcasting Network 6/22)

Related Stories
Measure to approve tribally-operated casino advances in Maine (6/22)
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)

Join the Conversation