Maine lawmakers are debating expanding gambling in a state with an already squeezed casino market.
The casino market in the Northeast looks as close to saturated as it could get. Pennsylvania now has the nation’s second-largest gaming industry, Connecticut has the largest American poker room, New York is considering commercial casino legalization for the first time, and Massachusetts recently amended its constitution to allow the state government to issue casino licenses.
Even with all that, the small New England state is considering adding to its two existing casinos. A recent report commissioned by the state legislature made gambling news by concluding that Maine could reasonably support two more casinos, one on the coast and one near the Canadian border.
Maine’s existing casinos are fighting expansion
State lawmakers are interested in expansion as an easy means of plugging holes in the state budget, but incumbent casino operators argue that it would “cannibalize” existing gambling establishments.
For example, a casino on the Southeastern coast of Maine would be in close proximity to an already standing venue in Portland. The Oxford Casino could lose 20 percent of its customer base, according to the report.
Planned casino projects in nearby Massachusetts could also lure gamblers away from Maine. All in all, this is certainly not a good time to invest in casino expansion.