When Maine licensed its first gaming facility more than a decade ago, residents and business leaders had high hopes for what the project could achieve – keeping taxes down, creating new jobs, spurring tourism and economic development and generating additional funding for critical education, health care and agriculture priorities.

By virtually any measure, the Hollywood Casino Hotel & Raceway has been a tremendous success, achieving – and, in many cases, exceeding – each of these goals and providing a transformative shot in the arm for Bangor. Over the past decade, the facility has generated more than $500 million in revenue and helped to pay for construction of the Cross Insurance Center arena and convention center.

The positive impact of this facility has been felt hundreds of miles away in communities across Maine, thanks to new revenues that fund vital state initiatives. In addition, predictions about the negative impacts from a Bangor casino have not come true. In fact, a 2013 Lowell Sun news story examining the effects said “the facility is hailed by civic leaders as a cornerstone of the city’s redevelopment.”

What has worked for Maine and Mainers for more than 10 years can work once again – this time, in southern Maine. York County is poised to take advantage of the opportunity to generate new jobs and economic growth with the construction of a gaming facility of its own. And on Nov. 7, voters across Maine will have the chance to weigh in and vote “yes” on Question 1 to approve a York County casino that will keep Maine dollars in Maine and add new revenues for medical care, education, police and property tax relief, as well as draw tourist dollars. Voting “yes” on Question 1 also means more funds to help seniors and those with disabilities, and more money for scholarships and drug education.

Progress for Maine is a campaign to ensure that the state can reap the jobs, tourism, economic development and revenue that a casino in York County will generate. Established with seed money by the construction and development company Atlantic & Pacific Realty Capital, Progress for Maine supports quality jobs and economic growth.

Our goal is to share more details about our vision, highlight the benefits of a York County casino and grow our broad coalition of support – business and community leaders, tourism officials, residents and others – who are eager to realize the new jobs and revenues that this project will generate for Maine.

It’s the right project because it’s ideally suited to complement Maine’s existing gaming facilities. It’s the right location because it can grow York County’s existing tourism industry while also preventing Maine dollars from fleeing to Massachusetts – where two casinos are currently under construction and one will be only 50 miles from our state border. Do we really want to see Maine dollars – and potential Maine diners, shoppers and concertgoers – heading out of the state?

The project will create hundreds of high-quality permanent jobs as well as construction jobs. It also is projected to generate more than $42 million in funding for the state in its first year of operation. This means more revenue to keep our income, sales and property taxes from increasing, and additional funding for education, health care and agriculture. It will also boost businesses by providing job training and partnerships with community colleges and career centers. Dedicated slot machine revenues from any York County casino will go directly to the University of Maine System scholarship fund, drug education initiatives throughout the state and vital programs at the Office of Aging and Disability Services.

But before any of these jobs or revenues can be realized, Maine residents must first vote “yes” on Question 1 – a ballot question to enable the state to pursue this opportunity. The blueprint for success that fueled Bangor can be replicated in York County. Let’s keep Maine dollars in Maine. Let’s generate more funding for vital education and health care priorities. Let’s continue to grow a successful industry. Let’s make real progress for Maine by making a gaming and entertainment venue in York County a reality.

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