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Tribes propose Indian casino in Calais

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March 2, 2010

Passamaquoddy Gov. William Nicholas says his tribe and the Penobscot Nation want a referendum on the November ballot for voters to approve an Indian casino in Calais. This would be their third attempt for a casino in less than a decade and would compete with Black Bear Entertainment which seeks a casino in Oxford County.

"We're not doing this to hurt the efforts of Oxford," Gov. Nicholas said.
"We're doing this to be able to bring better to the people of Washington County and to the tribes, and address some of the issues of the state, and we're the original ones to go for gaming and we're going to continue until we succeed."

Black Bear Entertainment collected the 100,000 signatures required for the November ballot, and state law allows the Legislature to create an alternative ballot measure to compete on the issue. The tribes are hopeful they can get legislators to sponsor such a measure.

Deputy Secretary of State, Julie Flynn, says "The ballot would present the measures in such a way that they could vote for either the initiative or the competing measure or reject both."

The winner of the referendum would have to receive a majority of the vote.
If there is no majority, Flynn says "The one that receives the most -- at least a third -- does go on the next statewide election for a vote by itself."

Black Bear spokesman Peter Martin responded "If any competing measure comes out against Oxford County, generally what the public will do is they'll split the vote and they'll be handing this victory to anybody on the 'no'

The anti-casino group Casinos No! does not want to see either proposal on the November ballot. It plans fight both if it came to that.

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