Northern New England Casino expansion gone no where for months, even years. New Hampshire, and Maine have tried to expand, but, to no avail. Maine’s fiasco at adding a casino project in York County shows the the Pine Tree State’s example of trial and error at any cost. The latest was the paying of those helping to sign a petition to show support for a York County casino backfiring with the ultimate dismissal of the bill in the legislature. For more about previous casino proposals, see a previous post “Additional Maine Casino Gambling – Too Much, Too Little, Too Late.”
So, when NETG heard of the Oxford Casino planning Board of the latest surprising proposal to expand the property by adding a hotel, a 275-seat multipurpose room and doubling the restaurant and bar capacity, our interest was rejuvenated.
Recently, however, the Oxford Casino planning Board has tabled a decision on the proposal, with due to the amount of information needed to analyze and digest.
The renderings are still being revamped with some floor plan decisions still to be made, “but this is pretty close by this point.” Churchill Downs, which bought the gaming enterprise in 2013 for US$160m, is continuing to advance the project including a 106-room hotel on three upper floors, a small office expansion off the north side of the building for back-of-house operations, administration, and human resources. The company aims to begin construction in August with a possible “soft opening” in April 2017. The board voted to table a decision on accepting the project until the next meeting May 12.
With only one bar, and little for food options, this proposal could be the Maine Casino expansion needed, instead of building another brick-and-mortar casino in southern Maine. At least the Hampton Inn being built across the street will help initially with long term stays. But so much more needs to be done as a destination.
The fact is, Oxford has been the casino for Maine, even though Hollywood Casino, Hotel & Raceway in Bangor has been around longer. Of two, Oxford continues to show more stability.
We hope the expansion goes through. Good luck to Churchill Downs.