AUGUSTA — As a planned casino in Oxford moves toward hiring dealers and a Bangor casino expands its offerings to include table games, Maine lawmakers took a small step Monday toward a statewide gambling regulation policy.
A subcommittee of the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee recommended that the full committee consider a casino policy that could include non-refundable application fees of $500,000 as well as other provisions, said the chair, Sen. Debra Plowman, R-Hampden. The committee is also being asked to develop legislation regulating state lottery sales via Internet, Plowman said.
Some lawmakers are concerned that because Maine has no statewide policy on casinos, developers can put forth statewide ballot questions that can lead to uncontrolled, hodge-podge growth of those facilities in the state. Others say the state does not require large enough application fees.
The committee is to develop a proposed casino-regulation policy built upon legislation introduced last year by Rep. Linda Valentino, D-Saco, who says the Legislature should have issued ground rules for the industry years ago. In the meantime, a number of proposals for casinos or horse racetracks with slot machines — known as racinos — have gone before lawmakers and voters, with most rejected.
The Oxford Casino, which is under construction and is scheduled to open this summer, will hold a job fair Saturday. It is seeking applicants to fill more than 50 open positions as table games dealers. Additional job fairs will be held for prospective staff in the restaurant, security, administration and other positions.
Last week, the Gambling Control Board approved Maine’s first full-fledged casino. Hollywood Slots will become Hollywood Casino Bangor and will open March 16.