Maine’s voters clearly understood the ramifications of a third Maine casino last week, and they were having none of it.
Too many states are looking to expand gaming, gambling and lotteries to fill rapidly expanding holes in their budgets. Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland and Pennsylvania all are working to expand their income from gambling, even as the data suggest there is a finite amount of money to be plundered from those willing to risk it all for the big jackpot.
Mainers recognized that the proposed York County casino was an ill-conceived project from the get-go. Yet, the state of Maine also is guilty of seeking additional revenue from so-called sin taxes. Maine’s budget counts on casino revenue. The state also has renegotiated its liquor tax, increased its hotel taxes and is seeking to maximize legalized marijuana taxes at a time when this income is at best a guess.
The pot of gold is elusive. Are people still going to Atlantic City to gamble? Not many. New Jersey’s gambling revenues are half what they were 10 years ago — a message every state needs to consider.