Maine objective: challenge Foxwoods

Mar 5, 2002 1:42 AM

A “general concept” has been formulated for a planned $300 million casino in Maine.

“This is in its exploratory stages right now and we can’t really discuss it,” said Severin M. Beliveau, a prominent Democratic State House lobbyist.

Beliveau collaborated with tribal attorney Tom Tureen to broker plans for the casino, which would be managed by the tribes on land that has not yet been acquired.

In other words, this is a long-ranging project that could take years to ratify.

The tribes cannot construct a casino in Maine without the approval of the State Legislature. The tribes are exploring the possibility of getting the approval through emergency legislation.

Tribal leaders are concerned that there may be competing interests seeking to build a casino in New Hampshire, either in the Portsmouth or Belmont area. The Maine casino would be located in Kittery.

The plan is to have a high-profile, luxury 1890s style Grant Hotel at the complex, similar to Foxwoods in Connecticut.

“The tribes really want it in Kittery,” said one lawmaker. “Foxwoods is 112 miles from Boston. Kittery is only 50 miles from Boston, and we have lobster.”