September 18, 2019
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Old Orchard Beach eyed as possible location for casino

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Cars roll by on East Grand Avenue in Old Orchard Beach in this BDN file photo.

Though casino backers have designated Old Orchard Beach in a recent report as a potential location for a casino, a spokesman for the group says that no location has been chosen at this time.

A citizens’ initiative to allow slot machines or a casino in York County submitted the required number of signatures to qualify for the November 2017 ballot.

Progress for Maine, a political action committee backing a proposed casino, published an economic income study in September that is available at www.progressformaine.com. An addendum in the study identifies 22.5 acres in Old Orchard Beach as a proposed site for a casino.

The property, off Ocean Park and Old Orchard roads, includes Pinegrove Village mobile home park, a portion of Old Orchard Beach campground and additional property along Melvin Avenue.

The owner of Old Orchard Beach campground could not be reached by press time.

Though the study references only Old Orchard Beach as a potential location, Progress for Maine Spokesman Michael Sherry, of the Boston firm O’Neill and Associates said in an email last week that a final location has not been chosen.

“I think it’s fair to say that — as already reported — we have had conversations with several municipalities within York county that have expressed an interest should the measure pass in November,” said Sherry. “Still, at this time, no location has been chosen as we think it’s important to let communities weigh in on whether or not they’d even want such a facility before we make any moves of our own. Ultimately — as written into the ballot measure — any final location must be approved ‘by local referendum election or by a vote of the municipal officers of the municipality.’”

Sherry said an economic study by Evans, Carroll and Associates projects 2,165 permanent job positions and 2,767 construction jobs from this project.

According to the language in the ballot, one percent of the net slot machine income must be forwarded directly to the municipality where the slot machines are located and two percent of the net table game income must be given to the municipality. According to Sherry, this would equate to about $6.7 million to the local municipality over the first five years.

The language of the proposed bill would require the casino to be owned by Shawn Scott.

A Bad Deal for Maine, a political action committee opposing the proposed casino, has created a website, wickedshady.com. The website criticizes Scott and says, the casino proposal is a “terrible deal” for Maine.

The website states that Scott has made millions over the past two decades getting casino rights in multiple states and flipping them for a large profit. This includes Scott selling the rights to Hollywood Casino in Bangor in 2003 for $51 million.

The website also cites various news sources that state Scott has been the center of investigations and lawsuits and has in the past been denied a track management license.

 



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