Vote for casinos in Maine

By AL DIAMON  |  October 20, 2010

As for a tribal casino in sparsely populated Washington County, it would offer all the marketing potential of a new-car dealership in Amish country.

Seasonal gaming sites might crop up along the coast in the summer or at ski resorts in the winter, but the limited time they'd be open, plus the competition they'd face from the attractions of the beach or slopes, would almost certainly keep such enterprises small and marginally profitable.

The gambling industry prefers to operate as a monopoly. It doesn't want to fight with itself for customers. That's why the Oxford referendum on next month's ballot contains language that would prevent another casino from opening within 100 miles of its site. That's why supporters of a Lewiston gaming establishment took out a full-page newspaper ad recently urging a "no" vote on the Oxford plan. That's why Hollywood Slots' parent company is underwriting the cost of an anti-Oxford campaign, arguing, in effect, that another gambling site would hurt its business.

If any idiot could open a casino simply by stopping by town hall to pick up a building permit and an entertainment license, almost nobody would do it. The battle to attract players would be too fierce. The customer base would be too fractured. The profits would be nonexistent.

The easiest way to limit gambling in Maine as much as possible isn't to oppose every casino referendum that comes along. It's to vote to legalize games of chance every chance you get.

Unlike playing the slots, it's a sure bet.

Lay your cards on the table by e-mailing me ataldiamon@herniahill.net.

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