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In Rare Media Appearance, Question 1 Backer Says He Has ‘No Intention’ To Flip Casino License

Andrew Catalina
Maine Public

The primary backer of a proposed casino operation in York County says he “has no plans” to sell the gaming license if voters approve the measure next month.

Shawn Scott, who has to date avoided questioning from the news media in Maine, appeared as a guest on today’s Maine Calling program with Jennifer Rooks.

(Click here to listen to the full show)

“Are you going to sell the license?” Rooks said.

“We have no intention to sell this license,” Scott said. “No plan. I mean we can argue over if it’s going to rain next Wednesday, but I can tell you we’re here to stay. We’ve been here nearly 20 years, we’ve invested in Maine, we’ve created jobs in Maine and we’ve created tax revenue in Maine, and that’s our plan to do in York County.”

Scott has a controversial history in Maine and elsewhere. He was the initial developer behind what would become Hollywood Slots in Bangor. After that casino license was approved by voters 14 years ago, Scott sold the racetrack and the casino rights to Penn National Gaming for more than $50 million.

Under the wording of Question 1, Scott would be the sole recipient of the gaming rights for the York County casino, which supporters say would create more than 2,000 permanent jobs and generate more than $45 million a year in state tax revenues.

Credit Andrew Catalina / Maine Public
Maine Public
Louis Luchini on Maine Calling on Tuesday.

But critics question the numbers and Scott’s commitment to Maine. On Tuesday’s Maine Calling, Scott revealed that he claims residence in the Northern Mariana Islands.

“I live in Saipan,” he said. “It’s a U.S. territory next to Guam, and like any small town in the U.S. a very tight-knit community — and it’s a great place.”

But state Rep. Louis Luchini of Ellsworth, who appeared on the program as an opponent of Question 1, said he has a hard time believing Scott’s promises.

“Mr. Scott just said he lives in Saipan, but at the same time says he wants to be here for the long haul and that he’s going to get a license. So we are literally voting on Question 1 and hoping that he does the right thing, and that he doesn’t flip this and make $200 million. I think that’s a big ask for the voters of Maine,” he said.

To listen to the full Maine Calling on Question 1, click here.

This story was originally published Oct 24, 2017 at 4:30 p.m. ET.