|The war of words that has erupted around plans to open Maine’s first casino will be decided by the ballot box next week. Opinions are so strong on both sides that backers and opponents of the scheme have already spent more than $6 million on their respective campaigns.|
At the centre of the argument are plans to erect a 200,000 square foot casino with 4000 slot machines and 180 gambling tables. Also planned is a convention centre, a 2000 seat theatre, 10 restaurants and night clubs and a golf course. If it went ahead, It would be on a larger scale than anything Vegas has to offer.
‘No’ campaigners are concerned about the detrimental effect to Maine’s wholesome image. Let’s not forget that this is the state that greets its visitors with welcoming road signs proclaiming: “Maine: The Way Life Should Be”.
Others see past this rosy image and look to the economic benefits the casino will bring. The state has lost 17,800 manufacturing jobs in the past three years, and Maine's average household income is now 40th in the nation. The casino’s supporters estimate it will produce 10,000 jobs and $100 million in annual revenue for the state.