Maine citizens statewide on Nov. 2 will consider three referendum questions, in addition to voting for gubernatorial and congressional candidates. The ballot questions are as follows, and an explanation of each, courtesy of the Maine Office of Attorney General, follows each question.

Question 1: Citizen Initiative

Do you want to allow a casino with table games and slot machines at a single site in Oxford County, subject to local approval, with part of the profits going to specific state, local and tribal programs?

This initiated legislation authorizes the Gambling Control Board to license a casino at a single site in Oxford County for the operation of table games and slot machines. The casino could be licensed to operate up to 1,500 slot machines, and the maximum number of slot machines allowed to be operated in the state would be increased from 1,500 to 3,000. The casino would be the only place in the state where table games are allowed.

Table games include card games, dice games and other games of chance such as blackjack, poker, dice, craps, roulette, baccarat, money wheels, wheels of fortune, and any electronic facsimile of such games. The minimum age for playing table games would be 21 — the same age required for playing slot machines. Table game distributors would be subject to licensing and regulation by the Gambling Control Board, including the requirement to register each table game.

To be eligible for a casino license, the operator must own a facility at which harness racing was conducted in the 2009 racing year, under a license from the State Harness Racing Commission, and that facility must be located within 10 miles of the proposed casino. (The only facility that meets this requirement is the Oxford County Fairgrounds, which conducted harness racing in 2009 under a state license.) The casino also must be on at least 50 acres of land located within certain specified distances from a hospital with a Level I or II trauma center, a fire station, the main offices of a county sheriff and of a state police field troop, a state highway and an interstate highway interchange.

Before it could be licensed by the state, operation of the casino would first have to be
approved by the municipality where it is to be located, either by the voters in a local referendum election, or by vote of the municipal officers. The local vote must be held on or before Dec. 31, 2011. Renewal of a casino license would also require local approval.
After January 1, 2011, no other casino or slot machine facility could be licensed unless it was first approved by voters in a statewide referendum, as well as by the municipal officers or voters of the municipality where it was to be located.

A licensed casino operator would be required to turn over 46 percent of the net revenue from slot machines and 16 percent of the net revenue from table games to the Gambling Control Board for distribution to a variety of state and local programs itemized in the legislation in specified amounts.

One quarter of the net revenue from slot machines and one tenth of the net revenue from table games would be used to supplement (but not supplant) funding for essential programs and services in public schools, for kindergarten through grade 12. The remainder of the net slot machine revenue would be distributed in specified amounts to the University of Maine System and Maine Community College System scholarship programs, the tribal governments of the Penobscot Nation and the Passamaquoddy Tribe, the Agricultural Fair Support Fund, the Sire Stakes Fund, a fund to supplement harness racing purses, and dairy farm stabilization programs. Net revenue from both slot machines and from table games would also be directed to the host municipality (2 percent), the host county (1 percent), and to support administrative costs of the Gambling Control Board (3 percent), which include counseling services for gambling addiction.

Percentage payments to the Penobscot Nation and the Passamaquoddy Tribe, and payments to supplement the Sire Stakes Fund and harness racing purses would cease if those recipients ever received funds from a slot machine facility or casino other than the Oxford County casino or the existing slot machine facility in Bangor.

If approved, this citizen-initiated legislation would take effect 30 days after the governor
proclaims the official results of the election.

A “yes” vote is to enact the initiated legislation.
A “no” vote opposes the initiated legislation.


Question 2: Bond Issue

Do you favor a $5,000,000 bond issue to be awarded on a competitive basis to increase access to dental care in Maine, $3,500,000 to be used for a community-based teaching dental clinic affiliated with or operated by a college of dental medicine to be matched by $3,500,000 in other funds, and $1,500,000 to be used to create or upgrade community-based health and dental care clinics across the state to increase their capacity as teaching and dental clinics?

If approved, this would provide funds to be awarded on a competitive basis, $3,500,000 to be used for a community-based teaching clinic affiliated with or operated by a college of dental medicine to be matched by $3,500,000 in other funds, and $1,500,000 to be used to upgrade community-based health and dental care clinics across the state to increase their capacity as teaching clinics.

Proceeds of the sale of the bonds are to be awarded on a competitive basis and would be expended under the direction and supervision of the Department of Health and Human Services as follows:

A “yes” vote approves the authorization of the $5,000,000 bond issue to finance all of the activities.

A “no” vote disapproves the bond issue in its entirety.


Question 3: Bond Issue

Do you favor a $9,750,000 bond issue to invest in land conservation and working waterfront preservation and to preserve state parks to be matched by $9,250,000 in federal and other funds?

This act would authorize the state to issue bonds in an amount not to exceed $9,750,000 to raise funds to invest in: the acquisition of land and interest in land for conservation, water access, outdoor recreation, wildlife and fish habitat, farmland preservation and working waterfront preservation. The bonds would run for a period not longer than 10 years from the date of issue and would be backed by the full faith and credit of the state.

Proceeds of the sale of the bonds would be expended as follows:

• $9,250,000 would be expended under the direction and supervision of the Land for Maine’s Future Board, as follows:

$6,500,000 must be spent for the acquisition of land for conservation, water access, wildlife and fish habitat, outdoor recreation, including hunting and fishing, and farmland preservation. The bond funds must be matched with at least $6,500,000 in public and private contributions, 70 percent of which must be in cash or other tangible assets, while the remaining 30 percent may be in the form of project-related in-kind contributions or services.

$1,750,000 must be made available to protect working waterfront properties that support
commercial fisheries businesses in accordance with the Maine Working Waterfront Access Pilot Program enacted as Chapter 462, Part B, Section 6 of the Public Laws of 2005. Grants for working waterfront projects would have to be matched, dollar for dollar, by the local governments or organizations receiving the grants and would be made subject to a condition that the property may not be used, altered or developed in a manner that precludes its use by commercial fisheries businesses.

The Land for Maine’s Future Board would be required to retain a right of first refusal on any waterfront property acquisition.

$1,000,000 must be made available to preserve working farmland in accordance with Title 5, section 6207. Grants for the preservation of farmlands would be made when matching funds are available from cooperating entities.

With the exception of working waterfront projects and farmland preservation projects, hunting, fishing, trapping and public access may not be prohibited on lands acquired with these bond proceeds, unless required by applicable federal, state or local laws. In using bond proceeds to acquire land or interests in land of local or regional significance, the Land for Maine’s Future Board would be required to give preference to acquisitions that achieve benefits for multiple towns and address regional conservation needs.

$500,000 would be expended by the Department of Conservation’s Bureau of Parks and
Lands to preserve state parks and properties managed by the Department of Conservation.

A “yes” vote approves the authorization of the $9,750,000 bond issue to finance all of the
activities.

A “no” vote disapproves the bond issue in its entirety.

The total estimated lifetime cost is $12,163,125 representing $9,750,000 in principal and
$2,413,125 in interest (assuming interest at 4.5 percent over 10 years).