Expand casino gaming to create new jobs in Maine

Posted Dec. 10, 2009, at 6:47 p.m.

A recent survey by Casinos Yes indicates that a majority of Mainers favor the expansion of casino gaming in Maine. The overwhelming reason cited is the opportunity for creating good new jobs.

Jobs come from places you may not think about. There are many suppliers to a resort-casino. Most have employees. Tourists who stop along the way for snacks, gas, gifts, trinkets and overnight stays support jobs. Perhaps they fall in love with the area and buy a second home. Maybe they really fall in love and move here. Maybe they move their existing business here or decide to create a new business. Good jobs are always welcome in Maine.

Thanks to the positive experiences provided by Hollywood Slots in Bangor, we have a more accurate picture regarding the true effect casino gaming brings to a community. Even in this difficult economy, Hollywood Slots has remained quite profitable and provides revenue to the city and the state of Maine.

I believe we are now at a time where fears of the unknown have been dispelled and the time to move forward is at hand. Casino gaming is an essential part of the entertainment mix provided by quality travel and tourism destinations. Maine has a great tourism economy. Offering a first class resort-casino for our visitors to experience will make Maine a more attractive choice for business meetings and tourists.

Nationwide, we now have 39 states that have legalized casino gaming. Ohio voters said yes on Nov. 3 because they recognized the time was right. Casinos have proved to be a good neighbor to over 1,400 communities by providing jobs, supporting education, health care and government at all levels with their tax dollars. Here in Maine we need all the help we can get creating jobs and increasing our tax base.

While Maine is not other states, we need to be cognizant of the fact that states with casinos are our competition for tourism dollars. Casinos Yes believes that as Mainers we need to be bold and be first. Massachusetts and New Hampshire are taking a hard look at casino revenue and they will be voting on it soon. As Mainers we cannot afford to leave our economic future in the hands of our neighbors.

When you locate Oxford County on a map, you notice it is close to New Hampshire and Vermont. Massachusetts is just down I-95, and Montreal is only four hours away. Tourists from these states and Canada come to Maine for business meetings, entertainment and outdoor recreation. Western Maine is a great location for a resort-casino. It complements the area’s skiing and outdoor recreation offerings.

Tourism is Maine’s largest industry. By advocating for the expansion of casino gaming we’re seeking to improve the entertainment experiences currently offered in Maine.

Ted Lucier is a founding member of Casinos Yes, which is advocating for the expansion of casino gaming in Maine.

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