The Maine Legislature will, as the result of a successful petition drive, consider a bill that would permit two additional racinos in the state. If passed and signed by the governor, it would seemingly assure that the proposed Biddeford Downs, a joint venture of Scarborough Downs and a private developer, will be built.
The Maine Secretary of State reported this past Friday (February 18) that more than 75,000 signatures were validated, far more than the 57,277 required. By Maine law, the state's elected officials must now debate the measure. If not approved by lawmakers the question would then appear on this coming November's statewide ballot as a referendum question.
Legislators, or ultimately the state's voters, will be asked to change two provisions of current law, adding to the time required for gaining local governmental approval for racinos, and lowering the permissible distance one gaming facility must be located from another -- currently 100 miles, though it is not clear if that means straight-line distance or distance as traveled along highways and roads.
by John PAWLAK of the UNITED STATES TROTTING ASSOCIATION