Cannibalization in Q2/Q3?

BIDDEFORD, MAINE—As results came in Tuesday night, some early predictions came true around referendum questions 2 and 3, which dealt with the expansion of gambling in Maine.

Question 2 would allow for racinos in Biddeford and Washington County. Question 3 would allow a casino in Lewiston.

Early on, there was speculation that voters may support questions that would benefit their own communities, and vote against proposals that might hurt their own communities — which some termed “cannibalizing.”

For example:

In Biddeford 4,137 voted in favor of Question 2, and 2,684 voted no – a 61 percent to 39 percent vote. But on Question 3, Biddeford voters voted 4,139 to 2,642 against.

There was also speculation that Penobscot County voters would come out strong against both Q2 and Q3, largely to protect Hollywood Slots in Bangor. With 19 of 68 precincts reporting in, Penobscot voters were against Q2, 68 percent to 31.9 percent, and against Q3, 75.4 percent to 24.57 percent.

Bangor, the county’s metropolis, was against Q2 71.3 percent to 28.6 percent, and against Q3 78 percent to 21.9 percent.

In early Androscoggin County results – where Lewiston is located – voters turned down Q2, 37.7 percent to 62.3 percent, and knocked Q3 down, 66.9 percent to 33 percent. That was, however, with five out of 26 precincts reporting – and without results from Lewiston or Auburn.

Chris O’Neil, spokesperson for Mainers Against a Rotten Deal, also has reported that they’re tracking results and comparing them to the Oxford County Casino vote of last year, which squeaked through on a thin margin. The anti-casino/racino vote is consistently 5 to 7 percent ahead in communities, compared to how they voted last year, O’Neil said.