A group in York County began raising money this week to campaign against two state ballot questions that would allow new gambling operations in Maine.

Mainers Against A Rotten Deal believes that proposals for a casino in Lewiston and racinos in Biddeford and Calais are vulnerable, said Chris O’Neil, its spokesman.

The group isn’t opposed to gambling, O’Neil said. Rather, it is urging voters to kill the current proposals to give the Legislature time to create a comprehensive plan for gaming operations in Maine.

“We want a more rational approach to dealing with this,” he said. “Take these willy-nilly proposals off the table.”

The group formed a political action committee on Monday so it can raise money.

Two of the questions on the Nov. 8 ballot call for new gambling operations.

Question 2 would allow a slot machine facility at a harness racing track in Biddeford or another community within 25 miles of Scarborough Downs, subject to local approval, and at a harness racing track in Washington County.

Question 3 would allow a casino with table games and slot machines in Lewiston.

Crystal Canney, spokeswoman for the Yes on 2 campaign, said the developers of the Biddeford Downs project want to create good-paying jobs that can support Maine families.

She noted that 59 percent of Biddeford voters voted last November to allow their city to host a racino.

“Biddeford and Washington County have spoken loudly about their desire for these jobs, and it’s time to move forward. This is about communities knowing what is right for them,” she said in a prepared statement.

Mainers Against A Rotten Deal was created informally last year to oppose the Biddeford Downs project. Now, it has broadened its scope to oppose the gambling proposals for Lewiston and Washington County.

O’Neil, a Democratic former lawmaker, represented Saco and Dayton in the Maine House from 1996 to 2004. He lives in Saco.

O’Neil said his group wants to coordinate its efforts with all anti-gambling groups in the state, including Casinos No!, which for years was the only group fighting gambling proposals in Maine.

Dennis Bailey of Casinos No! said his group is also raising money and hopes to air television ads in the last weeks of this campaign. He said he’s pleased that another group that’s critical of gambling has formed.

“I am more than happy to give up the mantle,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for 10 years, and it’s great that other people are doing it.”

MaineToday Media State House Writer Tom Bell can be contacted at 791-6369 or at: [email protected]