June 06, 2020

Two unions support southern Maine racino

PORTLAND – Representatives from two unions are giving their support to a horse track with slot machines in either Westbrook or Saco.

Members of the Local 567 chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Local 716 chapter of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry rallied Saturday in Portland to show their support for development of a racino in southern Maine.

Westbrook and Saco are holding referendums Tuesday, asking voters whether they want to allow racinos in their cities. A new state law approved by voters statewide in November allows racinos in Maine, but only if the host community approves.

Scarborough Downs and its business partner, Penn National Gaming, want to build a racino with up to 1,500 slot machines in Westbrook or Saco.

Neither union held a vote among its members on whether to support a racino. But Gene Ellis, president of the electrical workers union, said there is widespread support among his members for a racino.

“I reached about half my members,” Ellis said. “I got 100 percent support for the racino.”

Ellis said a racino would create jobs and provide property tax relief for the host community.

“You can’t replace every job that you lose with a call center,” Ellis said.

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