Maine has opened the doors to Racino gambling in Nov. 2005 which legalizes and combines the popular pari-mutuel facilities (horse tracks) and slot machines together. Although a controversial vote - the path has now been parted and the rush to fill Maine with Slot Machines is on...
Maine Poker Rooms
Maine is the northern-most state in the U.S. and is home to the very best clam chowder in the world. However, Maine has very limited gambling or gaming opportunities for high-stakes gamblers. In Maine it is required by law that no one can earn win more than $1000 per day gambling. However you will find gambling in Maine. You can try your luck at pari-mutuel facilities or find yourself lost in a myriad of bingo games, slot machines, video poker terminals, etc. But if you are looking for a high-stakes poker game, you won’t find any in Maine currently. There is legislation however that if passed may change the current gambling laws in Maine.
A bill and a referendum will facilitate that change. Members of the Passamaquoddy tribe are trying to get momentum behind a referendum to institute a racino (a mixture of “race track” and “casino”, essentially a race track with slots and the amenities of a casino) in the southeast corner of Maine. That part of Maine sees a lot of visitors, especially as it right on the Canadian border, and so a racino there would presumably be extremely popular. Although the Governor of Maine, John Baldacci has stated that he would veto any attempt to legislate a racino, he has no problem should it be voted in. The referendum would most likely be on the November 2006 ballot, and is expected to pass.
(Although the natural assumption is that Indian casinos can be built in Maine without problems, the reality is that the tribe in question must work with the state and reach a compromise, especially in states like Maine that have stringent gambling laws. Thus the reason for the necessity of the referendum.)
The bill currently before the Maine senate would allow charity high-stakes poker games. As of right now, players face a $1000 daily limit on gambling winnings. Not necessarily an issue in and of itself, but charities are increasingly using gambling as a new way to raise funds. The limits have created issues, even in other states; Texas, for example, was recently put in the awkward position of having to split up a game and punish the people that had set it up.
As a governing body, states like Maine need to demonstrate kindness to charities, but must also prevent abuse so that the needs of the people are served. High-stakes charity poker games are incredible fund-raisers, but at the same time have the potential for creating situations for greed to corrupt the organizers, as some organizers are gamblers themselves and play in their own games, so they seek to increase what the players can take home. The potential for abuse is the dilemma for lawmakers.
The bill in question would allow high-stakes poker games in Maine, with the provision that 75% goes to the charity. The maximum pay-in would $100, and the competition would be limited to 100 participants. Also, each organization would be allowed six such games a year. The bill has been quickly making its way through the state senate, and has already passed the lower house. It is expected that the bill will pass.
When visiting Maine, there is plenty of lodging to be found, with some added variety. As Maine has a national park, and several state parks, tourists can take advantage of cabins as well as the usual inns, hotels, and motels. Also, there are vacation homes available for those interested in spending more than a few days in the state, possibly taking advantage of the laid-back Maine atmosphere.
Maine’s tourism is centered on its crafts, and it serves the arts and crafts trades well. It is near the Canadian border, and also several Native American tribes. Lastly, it’s also one of the oldest states, with a lot of local history. Combined, this makes Maine an excellent location for antiquing and crafts. There is also plenty of fishing and golfing to be had, as well as a number of places set aside for appreciating nature. In a lot of ways, Maine is ideal if you are looking for a vacation based more on quiet reflection than the hustle and bustle of other states.
Maine is also well-known for its fishing, specifically lobsters, and local cuisine reflects that. Maine recipes are subtler than other restaurant dishes, relying more on the taste of the ingredients than the spices and seasoning. Clam chowder is the best-known example of Maine cuisine, exemplifying the lack of seasoning and seafood base that you would expect from a state with a long tradition of fishing to have.
Transportation is mostly by car, or some variant thereof. Boats see limited use, as the ocean tends to too choppy for most captains and stomachs to deal with, and the lakes and rivers aren’t truly big enough to support the large numbers of boaters in other states. Trains are also absent from the travel system, but that is mostly due to more efficient means being available for freight and moving people. However, there is a state-sponsored commuter network that is easily accessible, and the bus system has a number of park-and-ride stops on the turnpike.
Maine is the northern-most state of the contiguous United States, and represents a unique culture. More laid-back than most of the other states, possibly due to the isolation of long winters, cold weather, and most of the cities on the coast, they are also more rural in many ways, with a lot of wide-open forest and beach areas. Maine is also under-populated for its size, with a total population of just over 1.3 million, and most cities having less than 25,000 people (the three largest cities (Portland with 64,000 people, Lewiston with 36,000 people, and Bangor with 31,500 people), Maine could be dropped into most states and not be noticed.
With the relative distance from the other states, Maine encourages independence in those who call it home, and the gambling reflects that, with its dependence on games (slots, bingo, and track betting) that don’t require others to play along, just bet. That attitude is changing, as the possibilities of poker and racinos become more solid. It will be interesting to see the face of gaming in Maine once those dreams are realized.
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