Maine Gambling Board Member Mike Peters Quits Because of Stance on Slot Machines

On April 19, 2007, Mike Peters, a member of the Maine Gambling Control Board quit the board and voiced his opposition to the proposal to add to the number of slot machines in the state of Maine. In his resignation letter on April 3, 2007, addressed to Gov. John Baldacci, Peters from commented that the state must do everything in its power to stop the expansion of gambling.

In his letter, Peters further stated that Maine is not getting many benefits as planned from Maine’s lone slot machine establishment, the Hollywood Slots of Bangor, and further expansion of gambling in the state could create more problems for the people in the area than benefit. Peters added that if they do not act now, the state will soon be overrun by gambling activities that will only benefit a few people rather than the whole state.

Just this month, the lawmakers in the state approved a proposal permitting the Passamaquoddy Tribe to construct and manage a harness racing track and resort with a slot machine facility in the Washington area. If Gov. John Baldacci rejects the bill as expected, Maine residents would vote on the proposal in a referendum that will be held in November.

Another Indian Tribe, the Penobscot Indian Nation, is also hoping for the lawmaker’s approval to operate about 400 slot machines aside from their high-stakes bingo games on their own reservation. Mr. Peters, who was appointed to the gambling board since August 2004 also said that he is expecting other members to resign.

The representative of the Passamaquoddy Tribe, Donald Soctomah commented that a racino facility featuring a hotel, conference area and different restaurants, would be a really big help for the Washington County, where the unemployment rate is high and the income is low.

Soctomah said that the state is being unfair on the matter, because they are thinking of expanding gambling in Bangor without giving the Passamaquoddy Tribe the same chance.

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