BANGOR (AP) – A leading promoter of a racetrack casino in Washington County says supporters think they have enough signatures to force a statewide vote.

“We will be on the ballot,” Passamaquoddy tribal representative Fred Moore said Tuesday, looking toward next year.

Moore’s group ended its petition drive last week after submitting an additional 8,000 signatures to state elections officials. That brought the group’s total to about 56,000 signatures, several thousand more than required to earn a spot on the 2007 ballot, according to Moore.

The Washington County Tribal Track Coalition, Moore’s group, failed to make the 2006 ballot after nearly 13,000 of 61,000 signatures submitted were disqualified for various reasons.

But the remaining signatures – about 48,000 – can be applied to the 2007 ballot, leaving the tribe only about 2,500 signatures short of qualifying.

A spokesman for the secretary of state said officials have begun a review, which is expected to be completed by late September.

Meanwhile, another group wants to place a ballot initiative to outlaw slots in Maine before voters next year.

Doug Muir said the group, No Slots for ME!, plans a major signature-gathering push outside polling places this November.

“The tribe’s endeavors do make it more important to bring the whole issue of slots back to the voters,” said Muir.

The group’s officers include former Gov. Angus King and Michael Heath of the Christian Civic League of Maine.

“We always thought the licensing of one slots facility would lead to more, and we’re seeing that prophecy being played out,” Muir said.

Bangor is the only city with the needed state and local approvals to host a slots facility and Hollywood Slots at Bangor is the only licensed slots operator in the state. Its owner, Penn National Gaming Co., plans to begin construction on a permanent facility housing 1,500 slot machines on Main Street.

A third slots facility has been proposed for Oxford County.


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