Late request to add 100 slots for Passamaquoddy Tribe under consideration by legislature

AUGUSTA, Maine — Buoyed by the Legislature’s approval this week of a bill that allows slot machines at veterans organizations and fraternal clubs, Rep. Madonna Soctomah of the Passamaquoddy Tribe in Washington County submitted a late request Thursday for consideration by the House.

Soctomah’s order asks the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee to vote out a bill that allows for up to 100 slot machines to be operated by the Passamaquoddy Tribe at its high-stakes beano parlor in Calais.

If passed, the bill would only take effect if approved through a referendum by voters of Washington County.

Her request was tabled during Thursday’s morning House session but could be taken up later in the day.

Tribal leaders have often lamented what they see as discrimination by Mainers, who have rejected every attempt by Maine tribes to set up slot machines while approving other casinos.

During initial debate Thursday in the House, some lawmakers said it makes sense to allow the Passamaquoddys to bring in slot machines.

Rep. David Cotta, R-China, said it was a matter of “fairness and equity,” and indicated he would support the measure.