Which one of the statements below is false?
1)Maine’s blueberry crop is the largest in the nation. 2)Maine has a desert. 3)Maine has two casinos.
Most people I polled said #3. In fact they are all true. We are only interested in #3 today – Maine does have two casinos.
The staff at NETimeGambling.com decided to visit both Maine casinos this past week. Today, part 1, our visit to the Oxford Casino, in central Maine.
OXFORD CASINO, Oxford Maine – Some Background
The Oxford Casino is operated by Churchill Downs Inc. and opened on June 5, 2012. They are celebrating their 5th anniversary this year with the culmination of a 2-year, $25 million expansion project, which includes a hotel of more than 100 guest rooms, additional dining options, an expansion of the gaming floor and meeting and banquet space.
Our first visit, in 2013, to the little casino in the woods included lots of back roads, in a small town where the casino was the largest employer – 400 jobs! In fours years, the surroundings have changed. Oxford town has grown, and even includes more restaurants. The roads have been updated at the same time the sewer system was put in, making the hotel possible. For a look back four years ago, click on our 2013 trip report, Trip Report Part 2 – Oxford Casino, Oxford Maine
TRIP REPORT – Gambling
The little time we spent, (4 hours over two days) we noticed lots of people for a Sunday night, due to Car Giveaway that day. It was busy.
The casino is divided into two rooms. The first where you enter has table games, slots, ands a small video poker bar. At first glimpse, the inside gambling area had been expanded. In the table games area, there were two craps tables, one was packed and on a busy weekend was still offering $5 limit with 4/5/6 odds. Blackjack & Spanish 21 tables were mostly $10, with one BJ table at the $25. All BJ was 3/2, soft 17, and included the +3 side bet, paying 9X your bet for certain combinations. Carnival games such as 3-Card Poker & Ultimate Texas Hold’em started at the $5 limit. A small High Limit Area has been added with a few slot machines and tables.
Slot machines seem abundant. Over 800 of them. If the game is older than 5 years old, you probably won’t find it here, unless it was still made. No Cleopatra, no Mr. Cashman (first edition), no Texas Tea.However, most slots available were made by IGT and Aristocrat, with many of the newest slots by those manufacturers available. Plenty of Quick Hit variations. Oddly enough, I did not see the very popular large screen Buffalo games in ether room (Buffalo Gold, Buffalo Stampede…).
Video Poker pay tables are not good. 7/5 JOB at least has a Royal Flush Progressive, but Bonus Poker is 6/5, DDB is 8/5, and Dueces Wild gives a high house edge as well at the $.25 level.
The hospitality and service by the staff was very good. Their motto is “Wicked Good Fun!” and the staff was Wicked Friendly as well. We left a little up in our bankroll, which made us feel good. Staff was very willing to stop and answer my questions. Now it’s was time to eat.
TRIP REPORT – Dining
There are only two dining areas at this time – The Oxford Grill and Bar & the Oxford Express. Since the Express offered mostly fast pub food (it does have a small breakfast menu) we decided to go upscale at the Grill & Bar.
It doesn’t sound upscale, but you can get anything from a great salad or poutine, to quesadillas, sandwiches and great fish, pasta and steak entrees.
The Grill has changed in four years. It seemed smaller, with one wall added to make way for the Express Dining. It is also where the Oxford Casino has its many interesting buffet specials. For info on upcoming dining specials, click HERE.
We ordered the Blackened Chicken Salad and the Asian Chicken Salad. Due to diet restrictions, we put our server Samantha through her paces – and she and the kitchen completed every challenge to changes in the meal. The service wasn’t quick (for salads & small amount of patrons), but friendly and very attentive. The blackened chicken was very hot, the way I like it, but could have been too much for others. The meal was extremely enjoyable from both sides of the table. We would eat there again and try some of their steak or fish options next.
CRAFT BEER – A full menu of great Maine craft beers is available for purchase. Alagash, Shipyard, Sebago, and Sea Dog, to name a few, are offered. Here is the CRAFT BEER MENU.
HOTEL – Staying Across the Street at The Hampton Inn
Since the Oxford Hotel won’t be completed by late summer, we stay at the Hampton Inn. This was a great option. Open only a year, this hotel from the Hilton chain was terrific. we were greeted cheerfully by the staff upon check in. Our room was beautiful, with many modern additions, such as plenty of plugs close to the bed with USB ports for powering up devices.
The bed was turned facing the window instead of the usual sideways, which we thought was a nice change. The chaise lounger was comfy and included a little desk that could be used for putting devices right in front of you. The bathroom was larger than expected with a large shower and nice essentials.
The regular rooms seem to be handicap accessible, with wide doors, a spacial area and even draws that provide great accessibility
Continental Breakfast is complimentary. There were many little areas to ear, including a long high top table to watch TV. The waffle station was separate – a great change keeping it away from the rest of the fresh and tasty breakfast. The area was spotless.
Other additions to the experience was a business area, and warm chocolate chip cookies served in the check-in area in the afternoon. There is free coffee around the clock. A shuttle is supplied from Oxford Casino for those not wishing to brave crossing the now busy road.
Great Trip, Enjoyable Casino
We will inspect Oxford Casino again when renovations are complete. Until then, we suggest a trip to northern New England for a smaller, more personal casino adventure. Tomorrow, we visit Hollywood Hotel & Casino in Bangor, Maine.