Let’s face it, gambling is a contentious issue. No matter where you stand on it, however, there’s one topic that is not part of the discourse, but should be: localism.

Surely, you believe we should support the businesses and people of Maine over outside corporate interests.

So, if gambling is alive and well in the state of Maine, isn’t it only fair to give a local, Maine business founded in 1950 a fair shot at competing with the likes of Pennsylvania-based Penn National Gaming (Hollywood Casino) and Kentucky-based Churchill Downs (Oxford Casino)?

That local Maine business is Scarborough Downs, the oldest harness racing track in the state, and the primary supporter of the farms and families that uphold this proud Maine tradition.

Do you think it’s fair that out-of-state, publicly traded corporations are lining their pockets with Mainers’ money while the local option is teetering on the brink of extinction? This is an issue of Main Street versus Wall Street – who do you believe in?

L.D. 1111, “An Act To Allow Maine’s Harness Racing Industry To Compete with Casino Gaming,” is a bill in front of the Legislature right now. It does not expand the number of gaming facilities in the state, but rather gives Scarborough Downs the freedom to introduce modern gaming to bolster its business so it can compete on a level playing field.

We need to embrace opportunities to support local business. That means going to the farmers market instead of Shaws, the corner coffee shop instead of Starbucks and thinking about the implications of those choices when faced with them every day.

That said, I encourage you to contact your state representatives and urge them to support L.D. 1111. It’s not a gambling issue – it’s a local issue.

Jon Sundberg

Portland