lready, a casino has been approved for Oxford County, and Hollywood Slots is hoping that full-scale gambling comes next. Hollywood Slots has been operating slot facilities in Bankor, and they are seeking to add table games to their offerings. That is only the beginning of what gaming interests are looking to accomplish in the new year.
Lewiston and Bidderford are considered strong possibilities for gambling expansion in 2011. There are many gaming interests, and it will be up to lawmakers early next year to decide how to word the law moving forward. It will be a task that may take more than just the first session, and the gaming issue may become one of the most debated in Maine next year.
Massachusetts is another state that may have an eye on casino resort expansion. The state lawmakers were close on a deal to bring casino resorts to the state at the end of the 2010 session, but House Speaker Robert DeLeo insisted on slots for race tracks in the state, and Governor Duval Patrick refused, vetoing a bill that would have legalized slots at the tracks.
Patrick has been pushing casino resorts since he took office. His first attempt last year was stalled by then-House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi. When DeLeo became the new speaker, it was assumed the gambling expansion legislation would be completed. DeLeo's allegiance to tracks in his jurisdiction, however, caused the debate on the issue to continue through to next year.
Maine and Massachusetts are joined by Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware as states that have made their presence in the gaming industry felt. Pennsylvania has legalized full-scale, Vegas-style casinos, while Delaware lawmakers authorized sports betting last year. New Jersey legislators are considering regulating Internet gambling in 2011.