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AUGUSTA, Maine

Maine lawmakers advance series of gambling bills

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Maine lawmakers have given new life to bills that would greatly expand gambling in the state. The House gave early approval to bills Thursday that would allow the Passamaquoddy Tribe to operate a casino in Washington County and the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians to start one in Aroostook County, subject to county-wide referendum. A third measure would let other tribes start high-stakes electronic beano games. The bills head to the Senate for more votes. Supporters say the tribes need casinos to bring jobs and economic development to their communities. But critics contend the state must implement a regulatory system for future gambling expansion before adding new casinos.

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