October 28, 2013

Another View: Don’t judge gambling proposal until the ideas are worked out

Maine’s tourism industry would get a boost from a well-designed racino in the right location.

By Timothy Powers, DVM, Maine Harness Horsemen's Association president

Re: Your editorial titled “Our View: Gambling interests shouldn’t control state commission” (Oct. 2): While I understand your concern about the quick action of some members of the Gaming Commission, there are considerable time restraints on reporting out a recommendation.

about the author

Timothy Powers, DVM, is a Pittsfield veterinarian and president of the Maine Harness Horsemen’s Association.

Our group has no intention of circumventing the questions posed in your editorial; however, it seems prudent to move the dialogue on to another level. Much information has been prepared, presented and is currently available. We believe discussion of a written proposal is preferable to a multitude of “what if” situations.

Let’s not rush to judgment until the final product has been reviewed and decided upon. Understandably, Penn National and Churchill Downs oppose any new competition within Maine; however, this seems quite short-sighted for the remainder of the state. Given the certain migration of southern Maine and tourist dollars to Massachusetts, and inevitably New Hampshire, wouldn’t it be wiser to consider what a southern Maine destination racino (adjacent to a racetrack) would mean to keeping those revenues in state?

Each year there is considerable talk about bringing new businesses into Maine. The equine industry (including veterinarians, farmers, suppliers, etc.) and its 5,700 jobs is a $360 million economic boost to Maine’s economy. In addition to courting out-of-state interests, perhaps it’s time to focus more on supporting existing Maine industries rather than those elusive “people from away.”

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