Maine’s Governor Paul LePage Slams Casino Proposal

Posted on: January 25, 2017, 06:00h. 

Last updated on: January 25, 2017, 06:07h.

It’s safe to say Governor of Maine Paul LePage is not a fan of a proposal to build a new casino in the south of the state.

Maine Governor Slams casino proposal designed to benefit Shawn Scott
Controversial figure Shawn Scott (right), with his attorney, is strongly suspected of bankrolling a referendum on casino expansion via his sister, Lisa. (Image: Press Herald)

Speaking on Bangor radio station WVOM-FM, on which he is a weekly guest, the Republican governor claimed those behind the venture were motivated by “greed” rather than good public policy, and their plans represented the “slow deterioration of your government process.”

He also believes that Maine does not have the “critical mass” to support a third casino on top of the existing Oxford Casino and the Hollywood Casino Hotel & Raceway Bangor.

The objects of the governor’s opprobrium would appear to be Lisa Scott of Horseracing Jobs Fairness, and her brother, Shawn Scott.

Smoke and Mirrors

Lisa Scott, a Miami resident, is listed as the sole officer named on the committee of Horseracing Jobs Fairness, which has successfully campaigned to have casino expansion added to the ballot next November.

She also appears to have funded the $4.2 million signature-gathering campaign herself, which officially attained the necessary quota to force the referendum this week.   

According to Scott, her proposal to build a casino with 1,500 new slot machines is designed to increase funding for the state’s embattled horseracing industry.

“The major focus of the effort will be to recognize the importance of preserving Maine’s horseracing tradition, agricultural industry, and open space,” she said in a statement.

But it also sets a strict definition for those eligible to operate a future casino. It suggests the state should accept license applications only from “an entity that owned in 2003 at least 51 percent of an entity licensed to operate a commercial track in Penobscot County that conducted harness racing with pari-mutuel wagering on more than 25 days during calendar year 2002.”

Strangely enough, the only “entity” on the planet that fits this very specific description is her brother, Shawn.

Controversial Figure

Shawn Scott has previous: in 2003 he bankrolled a successful referendum to permit slot machines at the struggling Bangor Raceway, which he had purchased the previous year for just over $1 million.

Shortly after, the Maine Harness Racing Commission accused him of demonstrating “sloppy, if not irresponsible financial management” and noted he had 37 lawsuits against him in four states. He later sold the Bangor raceway and all its recently installed slot machines for a $50 million profit.

Governor LePage is further incensed the campaign’s refusal to contribute to a fund to mitigate potential damage to the local economy in the event a third casino is realized. The proposed contribution of $50 million (coincidence?) would be refunded after five years, should the two existing casinos survive in the face of increased competition.