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Maine recount confirms slots defeat

3 December 2008

SCARBOROUGH, Maine -- As reported by the Portland Press Herald: "A daylong hand recount of ballots Tuesday confirmed that voters rejected a proposal to allow slot machines at the Scarborough Downs harness-racing track.

"The initial tally after Election Day had the proposal voted down, 5,804 to 5,565. The recount result was 5,797 to 5,557. Eight ballots were disputed and eight others challenged by poll watchers, but since 16 votes wouldn't change the outcome, those votes were discounted by town officials.

"The decision puts the future of Scarborough Downs in doubt, a track representative said. Edward MacColl, the track's lawyer, said Scarborough Downs has a license to hold races next year and has its racing dates set, but he would make no guarantees beyond 2009.

"MacColl said the harness racing industry in Maine needs to increase its purses – the race winnings horses earn for their owners – for the industry to survive. Other states offer higher purses, making it harder to justify raising harness-racing horses in Maine, MacColl said. The track needs other forms of revenue, particularly from slot machines, to underwrite larger purses, he said..."

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