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Amended Maine Slots Bill Upsets Lobbyist

27 February 2004

AUGUSTA, Maine – As reported by Bangor Maine: "A regulation and profit distribution plan approved Thursday for the state's first track-and-casino franchise got a gloomy reception from a lobbyist for the gaming company that hopes to install slot machines at Bangor Raceway .

"Penn National, which holds an agreement with the city of Bangor to develop a proposed $30 million slots parlor at the track, had hoped to receive 63 percent of the gambling machines' proceeds in the amended version of LD 1820. When lawmakers on the Legal and Veterans Affairs Committee voted 10-3 to approve the bill, the revenue distribution system returned only 61 percent to the slots developer.

"Chris Howard, a Pierce Atwood consultant representing Penn National, said after the lawmakers' vote that the 2 percent decrease from the company's original target would have a dramatic impact on its business plans for Bangor.

"…In addition to a smaller cut, the legislation requires the company to include a higher percentage of average payback for each machine, a factor Howard said would also influence Penn's profit margin.

"…Key discussion points in the amended bill presented by Sen. Arthur Mayo, R-Bath, focused exclusively on the distribution of gaming proceeds. The bill provides 61 percent of slot machine revenues to the racino and 39 percent to the state. According to state estimates based on 1,500 slot machines, 1 percent of revenues would be about $830,000…"

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