Maine Gov. rejects Indian Gaming Bill, cites problems with bill’s structure

Gov. Janet Mills acknowledges applause from legislators prior to her State of the Budget address, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, at the State House in Augusta, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Gov. Janet Mills acknowledges applause from legislators prior to her State of the Budget address, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, at the State House in Augusta, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

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Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) has vetoed legislation that would allow Native tribes to open casinos in their territories. She rejected the bill last week and said while she wants Native tribes to have sovereignty, there are major issues with how the bill is set up.

The biggest impasse would be the the loss of tax revenues from the current open casinos, which estimate at $17 million a year. The long-standing agreements between current casino operators and the state also plays a role.

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - JULY 8: The roulette wheel spins at Caesars Atlantic City July 8, 2006 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Caesars, along with Atlantic City's 11 other casinos reopend this morning after they were forced to close their gambling floors for the first time in their 28-year history due to the New Jersey state budget impasse. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

The roulette wheel spins at Caesars Atlantic City July 8, 2006 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

“Legislation that provides for tribal gaming does not have to, and should not, set the stage for legal conflict which would exacerbate tensions at a time when we are working hard to improve relationships,” wrote Mills in her veto message.

Maine is exempt from a federal law that requires states to allow tribes to open casinos if they so choose. The tribes are currently bound by state law, under the requirements of the 1980 Maine Indian Land Claim Settlement.

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