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Maine, Maryland Make Gambling Strides

More states move toward expanded gaming.



) -- Two more states are making strides toward expanding casino gambling.

A group in Maine said it will deliver more than 100,000 signatures to officials Tuesday in hopes of pushing through a statewide referendum on casino gaming next fall. If the secretary of state certifies at least 55,000 signatures, Maine could vote on the matter next November.

The privately held casino operator

Black Bear Entertainment

, for one, is looking to build a casino-resort in Oxford, Maine.

In Maryland, meawnhile, a zoning measure approved by the Anne Arundel County Council will allow the state's largest slot-machine proposal to move forward.

Another measure to allow slots at Laurel Park, a horse racing track, was also approved.

The expansion of gaming along the East Coast has put pressure on casino operators in Atlantic City, including

Boyd Gaming

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MGM Mirage

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, co-owners of the Borgata.

But the East Coast push has benefited others, including

Penn National Gaming

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, which received approval for 1,500 slot machines at its casino project in Cecil County, Md., expected to open in the fall of 2010.

Penn National also received good news when West Virginia allowed table games at casinos. Similar approvals are pending in Ohio, Kansas City and Pennsylvania.


Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.


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