A group that wants to build a resort and casino in western Maine says it has collected 99,000 signatures seeking to put the proposal to a statewide vote.
Black Bear Entertainment LLC spokesman Peter Martin says the signatures were gathered in just 20 days. He said residents have expressed support for an Oxford County casino because it would create jobs and boost state revenues.
If more than 55,000 signatures are certified, Mainers could vote on the matter in November 2010.
The antigambling group Casinos NO! criticized organizers for paying a California firm $170,000 to collect the signatures. Martin said most petition drives in recent years have used paid signature collectors.