The Southern Maine Casino Campaign Is Promoting An Economic Analysis. Is It Trustworthy? – Maine Public

A controversial campaign to build a York County casino is touting an analysis that says the project will bring millions of dollars in state revenues, thousands of jobs and a boost to the region’s household earnings. The analysis was paid for by Progress for Maine, the political action committee leading the campaign to approve Question 1.

Maine Public political correspondent Steve Mistler spoke with Maine Things Considered host Nora Flaherty about the projections and whether they should be taken at face value.

Flaherty: how skeptical should we be of this analysis?

Mistler: A couple of ways to look these types of reports — tend to look at them the same way voters view campaign promises from politicians. I don’t think it’s out of bounds to say that most of the time politicians overpromise and underdeliver. The same is true of casino campaigns, especially in Maine.

Let’s take the Oxford County casino that voters approved seven years ago. The campaign promised 1,700 year-round jobs and $60 million in annual revenue to the state. Oxford is considered a pretty successful gambling operation, but it’s fallen short of its campaign promises.

A report two years ago pegged the number of full-time jobs there at about 400, less than a quarter of what the campaign promised. According to the latests state revenue reports, Oxford provided about $32.5 million last year — a little more than half promised seven years ago.

It’s a similar situation at Hollywood Casino in Bangor, where revenues have been on the decline since the facility was approved in 2003 — to the point that the facility at one point asked the town for a significant property tax break.

By the way, the Bangor facility was the result of the campaign run by casino developer Shawn Scott, the same man —

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