Maine voters reject proposal for third casino in the stateDavid Sharp, Associated Press · November 7, 2017 at 9:17 pmPORTLAND, Maine (AP) – Maine voters on Tuesday rejected a proposal backed by an out-of-state gambling entrepreneur for a third casino in the state to be built in southern Maine.Supporters argued that the casino would create jobs as well as provide money to boost education and help veterans, seniors and others.But critics called it a shady deal aimed at benefiting Shawn Scott and his Capital Seven LLC, which bankrolled the campaign. The referendum was worded in such a way that only Scott or one of his entities could run it.With 30 percent of precincts reporting, the casino proposal was being defeated by more than 80 percent of voters.Scott previously financed a successful referendum to create the state’s first casino in Bangor in 2003. He sold out to Penn National Gaming when questions were raised about his financial dealings, associates and lawsuits. The Oxford Casino became Maine’s second casino after a referendum in 2010.Scott’s l atest effort was not without controversy.The Maine ethics commission launched an investigation in June and imposed $500,000 in fines – a record in Maine – against four pro-casino committees for missing deadlines for filing disclosures that accurately reflected who was funding the campaign.Critics accused Scott of abusing the citizen referendum process by buying his way onto the ballot, but he said the citizen initiative is open to anyone and insisted that the casino would be good for Maine.Republican Gov. Paul LePage said the proposal is motivated by greed and that a state with 1.3 million people couldn’t support a third casino. He called it “another case of big-money, out-of-state interests using Maine voters to get a sweet deal.”The casino license is valued at an estimated $200 million.All told, more than $9 million was spent in support of the casino, according to campaign finance reports. A pro-casino political action committee hired the same co nsulting firm that helped convince United Kingdom voters to leave the European Union.The anti-casino effort was largely funded by the Oxford Casino, which could see some business siphoned away by a new casino.Also on the statewide ballot was a proposal to expand Medicaid, transportation bonds and a constitutional amendment dealing with state pensions.In local elections, Lewiston and Auburn were voting on whether to merge into one municipality. There also was a special election to fill a legislative seat left empty by the death of Republican Rep. Gina Mason. Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.