My Maine View: Oxford Casino Sells Out

No one should be surprised. Anybody who feigns shock and disappointment that the group of Maine investors who built and shepherded the Oxford casino, from the idea stage through the ballot initiative to, what it is now, a very successful moneymaking operation, are selling out, has either been naive or not been paying attention.

Where money is to be made you can surely bet that the big boys of gambling will find a way to get a piece of the pie. Hollywood  “Casino” and Oxford certainly have proven that money is to be made running gambling operations in Maine. The same folks you will see expressing surprise in the coming days are those that advised you that Hollywood Slots was not a worrisome project because there were, after all, no gaming licenses, only slots.That changed quickly too.

Let’s face it, the folks proposing and profiteering from gambling ventures have it all down. They know how to sell it to government, how to spin it to the public, and then when they are firmly entrenched how to expand as fast as they can.

One can certainly make the valid argument that the tax revenue that is coming into the cities and state from these businesses is helpful. That money, any money,  for our municipal and state coffers can only help a cash strapped state. Still at what price do we sell ourselves?

Remember ” Maine the way life should be?” We jump up and down about the possibility of having another State Park in Northern Maine because a liberal environmentalist is backing it, yet we embrace these gambling groups who come in and plunder out state. In Searsport for some promised jobs in an economically distressed area they want to sit on top of a propane bomb. After all there is little danger they are told. As I tell my son that is why they are called accidents. No one ever plans them.

One has to wonder a few things though. Whatever monies the state is getting from these gambling ventures is clearly not enough. It seems to me that we were a cheap date and could have held out for a lot more. It is so nice to hear the folks at Churchill Downs say they are always looking to expand in ” gaming friendly states.”  They have places in Reno where the women are gaming friendly too……for a price.

It all makes one wonder why it is that all the time our Native American populations tried to get approval for casino’s they were always voted down. In those cases I always voted no, just as I have for the casino’s in Bangor and Oxford. My vote has been consistent. I would be interested to know what changed for other voters and members of government.