Sustainable resource and human rights advocate
Generally, I agree with you.... Re: Overselling.
The tribes have gone to great lengths to ensure the expert, government accounting staffers DO NOT overstate or oversell our tribal gaming bills for exactly the reasons you state... that the public's expectations are unnecessarily built up and, when exaggerated predictions are not achieved, the public becomes disalusioned and disappointed.
To that end, I have had several conversations with the legislative office of fiscal review accountants to prevent that from happening with regard to their "independent" analysis of our tribal casino proposals, and they have made adjustments to initial predictions accordingly.
For example, it is inaccurate to equate the demographic base and predicted gaming profits at Hollywood or Oxford Casinos with the proposed tribal casinos in Aroostook or Washington Counties, although they initially attempt to do so. As we all know, Washington County's market potential is based on 20 thousand Charlotte County Canadians and 30 thousand or so Washington County Americans, and not the 600,000 Mainers within a 2 hour commute to either of the larger casinos in Maine. Therefore, the proper basis upon which to calculate profits for either tribal casino is to realistically base it upon their own specific demographic and not to do what they initially attempted to do, which was to incorporate the larger profit reports from both slots and table games in their caluculations and predictions for both tribal casinos. That was wrong and would likely have led to exactly what you suggest, Mark, higher expectations and, when these weren't achieved, subsequent disappointment and allegations of having failed.
The Maiseet tribe's plan is to start small and stay modest, and to base physical devlelopment and gaming operations on only what the seasonal markets will bear, and no more.
Thanks for responding and allowing me to contribute to your conversation about our economic development plan, Mark.
Most tribal casinos in the United States are usually small, modest businesses that do not fail.
After years of trying, and years of rejection, Maine's tribal communities are getting closer to operating their own casinos despite last minute resistance from those protecting existing, out-of-state-owned casinos at Oxford and Bangor's Hollywood.
By an overwhelming majority, the Maine house voted in favor of legally recognizing and authorizing the Houlton Band of the Maliseet Indian's and the Passamaquoddy Tribe's right to open casinos in rural Aroostook and Washington Counties, respectively.
Both the Maliseet and Passamaquoddy tribal casinos, which will be less than half the size of Hollywood or Oxford casinos, will be located within sight or near the Canadian border, drawing new Canadian markets to Maine, rather than competing directly with Maine's larger, existing two casinos in Oxford and Bangor. According to Border Patrol information, 700,000 seperatly registered motor vehicles cross into the United States at the Houlton, Maine border each year, and many of these are repeat, daily visitors to Maine's border businesses (i.e. Walmarts, Mardens, IGA, Hannafords, Houlton Tire and Houlton Dairy Farms just to name a few). This represents millions of Canadian visitors each year to and through Houlton and Aroostook County.
Houlton's Town Fathers are already making plans to invest and upgrade area businesses to accommodate the increased, collateral business a Maliseet Tribal Casino is expected to generate once it is operating in Houlton.
The Maine House also approved plans to legally recognize and authorize Maine's other two tribes, the Micmacs and Penobscots, to expand high-stakes bingo on their respective reservations.
The Maine Senate is expected to vote next week, and Governor LePage has recently visited Maliseet tribal trust land where the casino is to be built and made committments to the tribes that he would sign the tribal casino bills when they reached his desk in the State House.
This is a well planned economic development project, which has broad support both at the local and state levels. We will not necessarily need to rely on the luck you suggest, Mr. Grave.
But, as I suggested before, please feel free to call me at my home office at 694-4190, should you decide you would prefer to discuss this idea further, sir. Or, if you'ld like, you could come for a visit and view the tribal trust land where we will build our modest gaming facility. I have plenty of wood for a fire. I have tea and am located just a few miles up river from the Maliseet reservation.
As I previously said, from a tribal government perspective, however, this is far more important than the mere startup of a typical tribal casino, it is a well tried and effective answer to a grave health and safety issue. The Chief emphasized that this economic development proposal is critical to the health and welfare of our Maliseet tribal people, which now number nearly 1,500 members in northern Maine; and that of all the Maine Tribes, Maliseet tribal members currently suffer the highest mortality, highest level of depression, greatest lack of proper housing, and the highest unemployment rates in the entire State of Maine.
The Maliseet tribal casino Bill, LD 1298, will also be important for the local and surrounding communities and municipalities in northern Maine’s Aroostook County. Even this small, 750 slot machine casino will create more than 100 full-time jobs and generate millions of dollars in direct and multiplier revenues for area citizens and businesses, and the entire state. Perhaps of more interest to the State and County municipalities, it will result in new and significant tax revenue increases according to accountants in the State Government.
The State of Maine predicts, in the bill's current Fiscal Note, that although it will have gross revenues of only one third of either Oxford or Hollywood Casinos annual revenues, it will still generate 200 million dollars in gross revenues and several millions of dollars in additional taxes and benefits to Mainers...and it will do it right!
And most, if not all, tribal gaming profits will be spent right here in Maine, and ... you can be sure .. we will never sell these tribal casinos to any out of state corporations or, for that matter, ever sell Mainers out! Never.
We are all in this together. Jobs and profit distribution under the legislated cascade to as many Mainers, for as much, and for as long as possible. That's our tribal culture, our hope and our operating philosophy.