Today, part 2, as we drive to the furthest northeast casino withing the US borders. Today, we REPORT OUR visit to Hollywood Casino, Hotel & Raceway in Bangor, ME.
Hollywood Casino, Hotel & Raceway – Some Background
It was the first licensed slots facility in the state, and became the first casino to be licensed in the state of Maine when it added table games to its facilities in 2012. However, it was the third New England casino to offer Vegas style slots in 2005, after Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun in CT. Twin River, at the old Lincoln Greyhound Park in RI, did not introduce Vegas style slots, or class III, until 2007.
This facility has everything – it’s just that it’s a little bit of everything. It is the smallest casino in New England inches behind the other Maine casino in Oxford, Maine. It does draw from patrons from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, Canada & of course Maine. This was our 5th trip to the Bangor casino. Only two hours away from Oxford Hotel Casino
We first drove to our hotel, the Bangor Inn. Unfortunately, we were unable to stay at the Hollywood Hotel. Our suggestion is do not stay at Bangor Inn, unless you want to step back to the 1950s in terms of comfort, amenities, even number of electrical outlets (unless you bring a couple of extension cords). Certainly a step back, but with inflated prices due to the concert downtown. (Over $150 dollars for something that represents an old Super 8 motel.)
After that, it was time once again for beer, and Hops 99 was the perfect stop.
Hops House 99 is a brewpub specializing in Maine craft breweries. With a good array of Maine beers and others from around the world, it follows its name by offering 99 beers. 22 beers on rotating taps, and the rest in cans & bottles. On this afternoon, they had some specials to “kick the Keg.” So we had a couple of Jamaican Stouts at $3.99 each.
Our meals were good. Their menu has enough choice to make anyone happy. I had a pulled pork sandwich with plenty of pork and Bert had the BALT (Bacon, Avocado, Lettuce and Tomato). Both were delicious. Service was timely and friendly – a definite visit every time we’re in Bangor. Hops 99 also has a bustling Trivia Contest on Thursday nights and entertainment on the weekend.
The other two dining options are the Epic Buffet (good, but not “epic”) and Take 2 Snack Bar which offers up a variety of you classic favorites including wings, burgers, sandwiches, salads & fries. It is open for breakfast daily at 6am. with a complete breakfast menu. During the week, it is the only breakfast option and is surprisingly expensive. Noteworthy is the fact that they don’t accept casino dining credit, but will accept Marquee Rewards Points. I would suggest you go out for breakfast somewhere outside the the property.
A brief word about Hollywood Bangor’s rewards club. It includes levels in the Marquee Rewards Program. Penn National has bought some Las Vegas properties recently like M Resort & the famous Tropicana to go along with its country-wide portfolio of casinos & racinos. Included in that portfolio is Plainridge Park in Massachusetts which uses the same Marquee rewards. Points can be used at all Marquee Rewards properties, making a visit to Bangor, ME. more profitable.
This isn’t a 24/7 facility. The property is open daily 8am – 2am. It houses over 900 Vegas-style slots in 30,000 square feet of gaming space. Slots include many old & new favorites, but many times only one or two of them. Denominations include penny slots up to $10 in the High Limit area (which is larger than Oxford.) Hollywood includes a broad variation of slots catering to reel & video slots players, with many older slots mixed with the latest. The number of $1 machines seem to equal the penny machines. The number of machines oddly seems skewed toward $1 denominations.
Video Poker seems to be it’s low point. Mostly single line VP with terrible pay tables such as 7/5 JOB, 7/5 DDB. and 6/5 Bonus. There are only two multi line games that I could find – a”Super Times Pay Spin Poker” and one “Ultimate X.” Both have different denominations available starting at nickels.
16 gaming tables round out the casino’s main floor. Hollywood Casino currently offers Craps, Blackjack, Spanish 21, Roulette, High Card Flush, Three Card Poker and Texas Hold’em Bonus®. Most low limits start at $5. However, on this Sunday Afternoon, the limits were higher – BJ could not be found under $10 and most table games in at the $15 and above. The one huge craps table had no Fire Bet, All Tall, All Small, etc. Your basic craps with 3,4,5 odds.
There is a poker room with 4 poker tables with live action Texas Hold ‘Em games, 7-stud, and Omaha. The same room has a small race book. Bangor Raceway is adjacent to the property and features a 1/2 mile racetrack and grandstand seating for up to 3,500. We didn’t have time to visit the harness racing track – maybe next time.
HOTEL – The Gem of the Property
The hotel has 152 rooms, including four suites, and with over 5,000 square feet of meeting and pre-function space. But it’s hospitality that shines here. A friendly greeting, ease with check-in and in our room withing ten minutes both times we stayed over is what you can expect. The rooms are nothing special, if you compare them to Las Vegas. But they are very homey, very clean well-designed, comfortable and have great amenities. A comped room here is a “no-brainer.” But pay to stay and you won’t be sorry. On this particular weekend the comped rooms were blacked out due to the Keith Urban Concert that Sunday night.
Darling Waterfront Pavillion
Our final part of this NETG casino trip was an outdoor concert at the Darling Event Center, which was the closets thing to Woodstock I ever experienced. This place is huge, and it was packed with many of Keith Urban’s fans. A beautiful, balmy night was perfect for Kelsea Ballerini’s opening, and Keith Urban’s 2 hour performance. This venue is fantastic for summer outdoor concerts. With so many people, the audience was great – just be prepared to stand a lot. We upgraded to seats, and with the large video screens capturing the excitement on stage, nothing was missed. This is a 15 minute walk from Hollywood Hotel Casino. We parked for free in the parking garage (parking around concert area can be expensive), played, ate and drank at Hollywood, and walked to the concert. We highly recommend a summer visit with a concert at Darling Event Center in mind.
I like Hollywood Bangor. In the early part of the week, as in Oxford, or even in CT’s mega resorts, it’s slow and quiet. The staff all over the property prove hospitality is important from the hotel staff to the dealers. Enjoy Maine in the summer. And enjoy Maine’s casinos while you’re in the vicinity.