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Court seeks input on whether it should weigh tribal gaming

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s top court is asking the public about whether it should weigh in the legality of tribal gaming without state approval.

Efforts to allow tribal casinos in Maine have been unsuccessful. The court is seeking written arguments by Oct. 12 and responses by Oct. 26.

The Maine House last month passed tribal Rep. Henry Bear’s order asking the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to consider the issue.

Bear wants Maine’s top court to decide whether a U.S. Supreme Court decision would allow the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians to conduct gambling on tribal trust land.

A 1987 U.S. Supreme Court decision lifted restrictions on tribal casinos. A 1988 federal law allows states to set rules for gambling.

“The time is right,” Bear said previously. “I think the court will see this as the opportunity to help balance the relationship that has gone off the path and that they’ll see this as saving lives [by funding public health programs] and helping to bring about healing.”

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