SANFORD (AP) – A new study says that a casino in Sanford would end up costing Maine residents more money than it would generate for state coffers.

The study by Douglas Muir, a retired statistical analyst who lives in Kittery, concludes that a casino would cost Maine taxpayers more than $165 million a year in social and economic costs. That’s $48 million more than the projected $121 million in annual revenue the casino would generate for the state.

Muir, who opposes a casino in Maine, was not paid for the study.

“The negative financial impact of a casino in southern Maine would consume all of the new state gambling tax revenues, and more,” Muir said.

Mainers in November will vote on a statewide referendum on whether to allow a $650 million casino and resort to be built in southern Maine. Sanford is the likely site if the measure is approved.

Muir’s study says if there are no other casino between Maine and Connecticut, the site of New England’s only casinos, gross revenues at the Maine casino would be $605 million annually, with Maine residents losing $128 million a year.

But if competing casinos are built elsewhere in New England, Maine’s gross casino revenues would drop to $174 million annually, with Maine residents losing the bulk of the money or about $170 million, the study says.

Erin Lehane, coordinator of the casino project for the Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribes, dismissed Muir’s study. She said it fails to even consider the jobs that a casino would create.

“He’s just wrong. He’s not an economist, he’s not involved in the hospitality industry,” Lehane said.

Dennis Bailey, spokesman for the anti-casino group Casinos No!, praised Muir’s study.

“This report is the result of a very careful examination of the best available data concerning the effects that a casino would have in Maine, including information provided by the casino proponents,” Bailey said.

“If anything, the conclusions on costs are conservative.”

AP-ES-06-03-03 1248EDT

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