Remember when Maine was thinking about more casinos two years ago with the immediate success of the Oxford Casino? Remember these previous posts?
Well, what a difference a year makes.
Back in January, Hollywood, owned by Penn National Gaming, filed an abatement request in Bangor, alleging the city had overvalued the properties along Main Street. The city would have had to pay back over $800,000, but the Bangor Board of Assessment Review and the City Assessor denied the abatement request.
The casino filed an appeal with the Maine Street Board of Property Tax Review, stating their argument that they are paying an portion of the total tax load of the city that is unequal and unfair.
It is considered to parallel the declining casino revenue that Hollywood, and now to a certain extant, Oxford Casino, is seeing in Maine. The thought of a third casino a year is long gone.
At least Oxford county has seen an slight economic increase across the board in construction, new homes, etc. The new Hampton Inn Hotel continues to be built in front of the Oxford Casino, expecting to cash in on Oxford’s initial success. But, located south of Bangor, will it feel the pinch from Massachusetts Casino expansion?
Sean Murphy of the Boston Globe
wrote that this could be ” a harbinger of what could happen in Massachusetts if its first casino [Plainridge Park]continues to see a decline in its revenue, especially with as many as four more casinos possibly opening in the state over the next few years.”
“It’s not good times for the casino industry,” Jonathan A. Block, Hollywood’s Attorney in the appeal said at the hearing. “The bottom line is that the supply of casinos is exceeding the demand. New casinos are opening in the Northeast at a very rapid pace, driving down the value of existing ones, like the 10-year-old Hollywood.”
Could Massachusetts casinos be asking for tax rebates after all is built? Let’s face it, gaming saturation in the northeast has been a topic around the casino water-cooler for some time now. Ironically, Penn National owns both Plainridge & Hollywood and withing the past two years has expanded to the Las Vegas market, purchasing M Resort off the strip, and the historic Tropicana on the strip. The revenue decline in the east for Penn could slow down their expansion plans out west. Andrea Soucy, a member of Plainville’s Board of Selectmen, said Penn National has not brought up a tax reduction for Plainridge……..yet.
We are still seeing changes and reaction from MGM to the recent Connecticut threat of a third casino. MGM’s response – while stoically subdued – still has a feeling of uncertainty in the northeast market. It will be built, but will MGM Springfield mirror the overall feeling of casino saturation in New England with more downsizing, and less of a “resort experience?”
Once Wynn Everett & MGM Springfield are built, they will draw a lot of attention – some of that from Maine. Maine’s two casinos should brace themselves for the future, if they are declining now. It’s only going to get worse with more gaming options on the horizon.