The Maine Legislature passed a bill that would allow tribes to operate gaming businesses.

The issue of tribal gaming has been hotly contested in Maine for years. The state has no competitive process to approve casinos, so casinos in Bangor and Oxford have been approved by voters. Tribal bids have been shot down. Maine’s high court declined in 2018 to weigh in on whether tribes should be allowed to establish casinos on their land without state approval.

The bill from Rep. Benjamin Collings, D-Portland, would amend state law to allow tribes to operate gaming facilities under a federal law governing gaming for other recognized tribes in the country. An amendment proposed by the tribes would require tribes to negotiate casino revenue sharing and operations with the state.

Gaming has long been touted by tribes in the state as a way to build their economies. When Hollywood Casino opened in Bangor in 2005, it devastated the Penobscot Nation’s long-standing beano business that closed 10 years later. But Rep. Rena Newell of the Passamaquoddy Tribe called it “a small piece of the puzzle” to righting historical wrongs.

Megan Diver

Megan has worked in Maine politics for more than ten years and all of her professional career, having served in many roles for elected officials (including former Secretary of State Charlie Summers), in-house with the Maine Association of REALTORS®, legislative specialist at Pierce Atwood LLP providing lobbying services and support to Pierce Atwood’s government relations clients and most recently senior government relations specialist at the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. Megan currently is the Vice President at the Maine Energy Marketers Association, utilizing her vast knowledge and legislative experience at the State House to represent MEMA on policies relating to the Association and its members.