Rally at the State House in support of racinos

8:41 PM, Jun 8, 2011   |    comments
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AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- People who love harness racing know the race isn't over until the finish line. So once again, supporters of a Biddeford racino filled the hallways of the statehouse on Wednesday.

They were joined by supporters of a Passamaquoddy tribal racino in Washington County, and those who favor a Lewiston casino. They have made repeated visits to the Legislature to lobby for immediate passage of the two citizen-initiated bills to allow those racinos and the casino.

Typically, citizen petition bills are voted down, which automatically sends them to statewide referendum vote. But racino and casino backers are hoping to bypass the uncertainty of the ballot box, by having the Legislature pass the bills itself. The House did exactly that on Monday, passing the Biddeford/Calais racino plan by a wide margin, and passing the Lewiston proposal by a much closer vote.

Now the focus is on the Senate, but that body appears not quite ready to vote. The measures were scheduled for debate Wednesday morning, then moved to the afternoon, and then put on hold until Thursday or Friday. The vote in the Senate is expected to be very close. The vote could also be a moot point, since Governor LePage has reaffirmed earlier statements that he will veto the bills if they are passed. The Governor has said if gambling is expanded in Maine, it will have to be done with the approval of Maine voters.













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