Maine’s Casinos 2017 Revenue Presents Different Directions

As reported By Nora Flaherty of HarnessLink Gamblers in Maine spent nearly $54.6 million on slots and table games at the state’s two casinos last year.

Those numbers are from the Gambling Control Board’s annual report out this month. The report also finds that while Oxford Casino made about $2 million more in 2017 than in 2016, Hollywood Casino made about $900,000 less than the year before.

I feel there are many reasons for the disparaging revenue statistics, but the main reason is location, location, location!

Bangor is a quaint DownEast city in south-central Maine. So, what are the things that might make it a destination?

Hollywood Casino, Hotel & Raceway, Bangor Maine

Hollywood Casino, Hotel & Raceway, Bangor Maine

  • Some say they have the best shopping in Maine with the Bangor Mall, which is so popular that people from all over North America, including Canada, shop there. It has spawned several motels just to service the customers. However, all those hotels don’t seem to have spilled over into stay-cations including the Hollywood Casino.  Besides, doesn’t the Outlet Madness area of Kittery entice people from all over New England?
  • Downtown is a great place to eat, enjoy some night life, and enjoy free concerts and movies.  The beer selections, with the increase of craft brewers such as Geaghan Brothers Brewing next to the casino, Masons Brewing, Black Canvas Brewing and Maniacal Brewing are all great additions to SeaDog Brewing right in the Bangor area.
  • Darlings Waterfront Pavilion has excellent open-air entertainment in the summer, just a brief walk from the casino.
  • The Penobscot River Walkway is an excellent walking, biking, or running trail that starts in the back of the casino.

But this just isn’t enough it seems. Milton Champion is the executive director of the Gambling Control Board says both casinos made some changes this year.  “Oxford Casino added their hotel, and with that hotel addition they’ve also added some gaming floor,” Champion says. “On Hollywood’s side, they’ve actually taken away.”

Hollywood just isn’t close enough to draw from other cities. The driving distance adds to location problems:

  • Portland, Maine – 1 1/2+ hours
  • Berlin, New Hampshire – 2 hours+
  • Quebec, Canada – 3 hours
  • Montpelier, Vermont – 3 hours+
  • Boston, MA – 3 hours+

But gamblers have made their way to CT casinos driving longer distances?

Yes, but the end product is quite different. Number of better gaming tables, better video poker, better amenities….the list goes on…will entice people. Bangor and the Hollywood casino isn’t that enticing.

Officials attend the grand opening of the Oxford Casino Hotel on Route 26 on Nov. 9. The 107-room, four-story hotel is attached to Oxford Casino, which opened in 2012 and is owned by Churchill Downs Inc. (Oxford Casino photo)

Oxford on the other hand seems like the little engine that could. Additions along the way – better infrastructure, added hotel (with another new Hampton Inn across the street) a new dining option in the OX Pub, and closer proximity to the cities cited above makes their growth in revenue understandable.

According to Nora Flaherty’s report, “Of the money they took in, Oxford and Hollywood casinos sent $18 million back to the state to use for K-12 education; $5.9 million to the University of Maine system, the state’s community college system, and Maine Maritime Academy; $8.9 million went to the general fund; and $4.4 million went to harness racing purses. That’s among many beneficiaries, including the agricultural fair support fund, which got $1.8 million.

Every Summer, NETG drives up to check out both casinos. It’s always a fun and relaxing trip, and we have more to check on besides the casinos.  Something to look forward to.

Binbin

 

Valentines Day Specials at MA, ME & RI Casinos

February is for Lovers.  Here is Part 2 of all the opportunities for you and that special someone in Massachusetts, Maine & Rhode Island

Valentine’s Day At Plainridge Park Casino Plainville, MA.

FEEL THE LOVE FREEPLAY – 6PM-10PM – Win your share of $65,000 Free SlotPlay Saturday, February 3,10,17 from 6pm-10pm. 5 winners every hour can win up to $2,000 Free SlotPlay. Prizes valid for Free SlotPlay only, must be playing on Marquee Rewards card to be eligible.

RUSSELL STOVER GIVEAWAY – 11AM-4PM – Earn 500 points on Sunday, February 11th on your Marquee Rewards card the same day of the promotion to claim a box of Russell Stover Chocolates. May vary from picture. While supplies last. One per account.

Slack’s Oyster House & Grill FEBRUARY 14, 2018 DINNER SPECIALS FROM 5PM-10PM – Choose from a Prix Fixe Menu, $50 PP Complimentary glass of Roederer Estate Sparkling wine.  Click HERE for the MENU.


Valentine’s Day At Hollywood Hotel, Casino & Raceway, Bangor, ME

SWEETHEARTS’ GAMING PACKAGE – includes deluxe room accommodations for two, a bottle of champagne, a half dozen fresh roses, chocolate covered strawberries and an Epic Buffet dinner for two. Packages start at $271 per night. Package available Friday and Saturday night only.


Valentine’s Day At Oxford Casino, Oxford, ME

Valentine’s Buffet, Wednesday, February 14, 2018 – 5:00pm – 9:30pm; $32.95 per person – Featuring carved prime rib, lobster tail, peel and eat shrimp, and decadent desserts. Limited space available. Reservations recommended. Call 207-539-6705.


Valentine’s Day At Twin River Casino, Lincoln, RI

Fred & Steve’s Steakhouse February 14th –  SWEETHEART SPECIALS MENU

Wicked Good Bar & Grill February 14th – VALENTINE’S DAY MENU

Shipyard Brewpub at Twin River February 14th – VALENTINE’S DAY SPECIALS

 

New England Casinos – 5 Top Stories of 2017

2017 was the year that we finally started to see the future of casino gaming in the northeast. Pennsylvania is adding more casinos. New York will complete it’s 24th casino with Resorts World Catskills in 2018. Atlantic City is showing signs of recovery with the addition of Hard Rock Casino in the former Trump Taj – and just maybe Revel will be bought, renovated and opened. And, New Jersey continues to lead the fight in the world of online gaming legislature and country-wide sports betting.

In New England, things have certainly ramped up. Only one word comes to my mind when someone mentions casinos in New England – Expansion. Expansion in Massachusetts with two new casinos by 2019, expansion in Rhode Island with a new hotel and casino in Tiverton, new expansion in Connecticut, however, at this time we still don’t know exactly how much.

So, here’s a look back at 2017 in New England – casino style.

1. MGM SPRINGFIELD

The City of Springfield, MA is preparing for a renaissance in jobs, revenue and entertainment with the opening of MGM Springfield. It’s going to be a different brick-and-mortar casino than previous MGM projects. It could be the single most important project in Springfield history, raising the Rose City up from the ashes.

MGM Springfield Casino Entrance

MGM Springfield Casino Entrance, Main Street to the left,

 

MGM Springfield – What City Improvements Can We Really Expect?

MGM Springfield – An “Urban” Casino

MGM Springfield Releases New Details with Local Flavor

MGMSpringfield Resort Success is Crucial For Springfield

 

2. MOHEGAN SUN CONTINUES TO DIVERSIFY AND EXPAND

 

Kathleen McWilliams, a reporter for the Hartford Courant, reported the Mohegan Tribe’s plan for the former Norwich Hospital site in Preston CT, (just across the river from the casino), would be made into a dozen amenities, including an indoor water park, a senior living center and a sports complex. This huge plan also includes include outdoor and indoor entertainment attractions, a large performing venue, time share units, retail, an RV park and marina. The plan includes restaurant space, a convenience store and gas station. A large project such as this is completely opposite from the trend in casino projects in size and dynamics. Not essentially connected to the casino part of the Tribe’s operations, it will be an overwhelming list for the town of Preston, CT.  In addition, on the casino campus, Mohegan Sun is again expending, this time in conference space.

Mohegan Expo Center, with Earth Hotel upper left.

 

Mohegan Sun News – Plans for Norwich Hospital Site and Mohegan Expo Center

3. FOXWOODS 25th ANNIVERSARY

Foxwoods celebrated it’s 25th Anniversary.  For 25 years, starting with a small bingo hall and the help of then Governor Weicker, Foxwoods has continued to be a country-wide phenomena. It is the largest casino property by square feet, it is the second largest casino area, and it includes the only covered, indoor Tanger outlet in the country. Gaming renovations have included two stadium gaming areas, offering $1 blackjack (3/2), and the continuation of one of the best poker rooms in the country. A more comprehensive move towards non-gaming amenities have included the addition of thrill rides, a zip line and race track for 2018, new restaurants, and additional night-club options. The celebration has gone on most of the year, with many giveaways and events. Here is coverage of New England’s first casino in 2017.

Foxwoods 25th Anniversary – Part 1- The Path To The Top

Foxwoods 25th Anniversary – Part 2 – The Celebration

4. MAINE’S THIRD CASINO PROPOSAL FAILS

Once again, Maine had supporters for a third casino in York County.  Once again, it was defeated. Maybe it was the fact that it seemed like a legislative scam, or that the backers could not be trusted. It started in February and continued along a sleazy path until it’s defeat in November.

Maine’s Third Casino – The Ultimate Scam Allowed by No Legislative Policy

Today’s the Day – The Vote for a Third Maine Casino

5. MGM / CT – THE BATTLE GOES ON

Shall we really re-kindle all of the MGM vs. MMCT news?  Well, it did monopolize much of the gaming news in both Massachusetts and Connecticut.  I guess I have to compare it to our country’s political climate – just nasty. Then there is the possibility (little to none) of a Bridgeport Casino by MGM?  or  MMCT?  or anyone else – as long as the CT agreement with the Pequots & Mohegans  is nullified. Whoo-wee, here are the top posts concerning the I-91 Battle of the Border.

The Old Showcase Cinemas, East Hartford, CT

The Old Showcase Cinemas, East Hartford, CT

East Windsor is Chosen By MMCT for CT Casino

MGM, Massachusetts, Provide Answers to Connecticut’s Casino Mess

MGM Has Mastered the Art of the Stunt – David Collins

Casino.org says, “Although Connecticut’s two tribal operators believe it’s part of a very elaborate bluff, an artist’s rendering of the proposed MGM Bridgeport casino, which the gaming operator says will bring 2,000 permanent jobs and a tax revenue stream of $316 million per year, has been created and presented to the state’s power brokers. (Image: MGM Resorts International)

MGM Bridgeport Casino – All The Angles

Other news included:

New Hampshire once again considered a casino, and looked into internet gaming, but nothing has yet to come of it.

Twin River Management Group finally made its plans for Rhode Island.  After Tiverton’s approval of a new TRMG Casino/Hotel in it’s town, and after they had already purchased Newport Grand, TRMG will move it’s Newport operastion to Tiverton.  They will also build a hotel at it’s flagship property in Lincoln, RI.

New England Casinos will be Increasing the number of casino Hotel Rooms By Over 30% by 2019.

Plainridge Park Casino & Raceway, a slots-only casino, continued to make progress in attracting guests and increasing revenue.

MGM Springfield is ahead of schedule for its 2018 opening. 2017 showed major progress in Springfield’s best hope for economic success.

Wynn Boston Harbor broke ground and in progressing towards a 2019 opening with great anticipation throughout the region.

Oxford Casino in Oxford Maine, finished their hotel on the premises and added another dining option – the Ox Pub.

WOW, WHAT A YEAR!

Living in such a small part of the country with such a vibrant casino industry that is gettiing on it’s feet again after the 2007 recession certainly makes my job easy.  Next year? – more expansion, more excitement, and more bickering from the Connecticut shoreline to downeast Maine.  Happy New Year everybody.

Maine’s Voters Respond – No Third Casino For You!

With about 90 percent of precincts reporting, Question 1 on the ballot was losing by a whopping 83 percent to 17 percent. Question 1 referred to the approval of a third casino in Maine somewhere in York County.

The question would have allowed only one company, Scott’s Capital Seven, to apply for a casino license that state officials estimated would be worth as much as $200 million. The ballot measure would have required Scott’s company to pay a $5 million licensing fee to the state.

Roy Lenardson, spokesman for A Bad Deal for Maine, a political action committee that opposed the casino, said in an interview that voters deserved credit for seeing through a flawed ballot question.

Progress For Maine backed casino, but was soundly rejected

“We’ve heard a lot lately about voters being tricked by ballot questions, but this is vindication of the Maine voter,” Lenardson said. “As much as I would like to take credit for this, it’s a case of democracy working. Everybody did their job, from the governor to the Legislature to the (Maine) ethics commission to the media, who dove into this story. Voters got the information they needed and they made a good decision.”

Is it really a surprise?  No to NETG.  Maine voters have disapproved a third casino before, and with the seemingly one-sided, under-handed plan by Shawn Scott & company, and the ethics committee getting involved, this was surely limping into the vote like “queen-seven of spades” at a Texas Holdem poker game.

Now Maine voters who are against additional gaming can revel in non-expansion.

Scott Thistle’s article in the Portland Press Herald quoted Denise Dionne, one of several South Portland residents who said they voted against the casino referendum. She thinks those voted against can be summed up to 3 reasons:

  1. they didn’t like the kind of jobs it would create
  2. they didn’t trust the project’s backers
  3. they just didn’t want another casino in Maine.

“I don’t want it,” said Dionne, 54, a home renovator. “Go somewhere else. Do they have to be everywhere?”

As far as Maine is concerned, no they don’t!

Binbin

7 New England Casinos by the Numbers

NewEnglandFINALEver ask the questions:

Which New England Casino has the largest casino?

What tables games are offered at X, Y, & Z casinos?

How many dining facilities are there at “such-and-such” casino?

Does “such-and-such” casino have non-smoking areas? Where are they?

These and more answers to your questions about New England Casinos are now at your finger tips.  One click and a link to your favorite New England Casino(s) will give you the numbers of whatever you’re looking for.
Hotel, Gambling, Dining, Entertainment and Retail Facts of All New England Casinos are provided here to answer questions pertaining to all seven casinos.
Click on each Link below to see the statistics of each casino, or click on the summary of all seven for an instant comparison.

Connecticut Casino Facts (Mohegan Sun & Foxwoods)

Rhode Island Casino Facts (Twin River & Newport Grand)

Massachusetts Casino Stats (Plainridge Park)

Maine Casino Facts (Oxford & Hollywood Bangor)

All NE Casino Facts

As in all pages of information such as this, numbers may vary slightly or even change as time passes.

Your help is needed!  If you find added table games, dining info, or changes of any kind in any of this information, say hello and send us a comment.  Let us know!

Your NETG Staff – Bin, Miguel, & Bert.

Today’s the Day – The Vote for a Third Maine Casino

A rendering of the proposed York County Casino, courtesy of the Portland Press Herald

Well, today’s the day that Maine decides if York County will be the site for Maine’s third casino. The referendum is written to allow only one person, Shawn Scott, to apply for a permit to build a casino at an unspecified location in York County. Scott is an international gambling entrepreneur who won voter approval to add slot machines to Bangor’s struggling horse track in 2003. He then sold those rights to Penn National – which still operates what is now Hollywood Casino – for $51 million as regulators scrutinized his businesses and associates.  For a related articles, click on Maine’s Third Casino A Bad Bet  and Maine’s Third Casino – The Ultimate Scam Allowed by No Legislative Policy

Shawn Scott, on the right, with attorney Courtesy Herald Press

THE CRITICS

CRITIC #1 – A political action committee called A Bad Deal for Maine that opposes a ballot initiative asking voters to approve a casino in York County has spent just over $600,000 on its campaign, according to state election finance reports. The PAC’s expenditures were funded almost entirely by $700,000 in donations from Black Bear Development LLC, the business name for Oxford Casino, which is owned by the Kentucky-based Churchill Downs Inc., the Maine casino that could lose most from the competition.

CRITIC #2 – Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage is urging voters to oppose a ballot initiative to build a casino in York County, saying it was all about greed. LePage said. “It’s a stacked deck. Once again, Maine’s referendum process has been hijacked by big money, out-of-state interests hoping to pull the wool over your eyes.”

The Sockalexis Bingo Palace on Passamaquody reservation. BANGOR DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO BY JOHN CLARK RUSS

CRITIC #3 – Leaders of the Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribes spoke out Thursday against the proposed York County casino. “If approved, Question 1 would stand to directly injure the Passamaquoddy Tribe and the Penobscot Nation by significantly reducing financial support that the tribes currently receive under a voter-approved revenue sharing agreement with Oxford Casino,” said Penobscot Chief Kirk Francis, Passamaquoddy-Indian Township Chief William Nicholas and Passamaquoddy-Pleasant Point Chief Ralph Dana.

CRITIC #4 – We at NETG still think that a third casino closer to Wynn Boston Harbor (Oxford & Hollywood are more north) will not be able to compete with the Mega-Resort/Casino and will not do what the pro-casino group Progress for Maine expects.

 

PRO CASINO GROUPS

Progress For Maine wants casino legislation

PRO #1 – One of Maine’s four federally recognized Indian tribes, the Aroostook Band of Micmacs, endorsed Question 1 last month following negotiations between tribal leaders and Scott. Scott’s Progress for Maine campaign agreed to help “create new non-gaming economic development opportunities for the tribe” of roughly 1,200 members in northern Maine. In announcing their support for Question 1, the Micmac leaders pointed out that revenues from the Oxford Casino only flow to the Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribes. The revenue “cascade” from Hollywood Casino in Bangor does not include any specific allocation to tribes.

 

 

 

PRO #2 – Progress For Maine launched a new Ad condemning Kentucky’s Churchill Downs for meddling in Maine election on Question 1.  Progress for Maine is dedicated to economic development and job growth in York County and across the entire state through the establishment of a new gaming and entertainment destination in the York County area. Progress for Maine supports a “Yes” vote on Question 1 on the statewide ballot in November. For more information visit www.ProgressforMaine.com

The full ad can be viewed here.

ETHICS REGULATORS TAKE ACTION

Maine ethics regulators on Friday levied $500,000 in fines against four political committees backing the York County casino referendum. The penalties were reduced from a sum of $4.6 million after considering mitigating factors.

VOTER TURNOUT?

According to  Scott Thistle of the Portland Press Herald, “a relatively small number of voters will decide whether to expand Medicaid and approve a casino in York County in November…..But if 2017 ends up looking anything like 2011 – the last year voters had no statewide races to decide except ballot questions on casinos – then less than half of the state’s registered voters will cast ballots.”  There is still a question whether the Pro Casino will get permission for absentee voting, and reeking havoc with the low voter turnout. Overall voter turnout in 2011 was 43 percent, as voters decided against two casino ballot questions for Lewiston and Biddeford.

As of this week, a poll shows 49% against, 40% for, (11% undecided), which is still close. A sudden surge of voters from either side could make a big difference in the turnout.

Here’s the rundown on how to vote:

Maine Question 1, the Casino or Slot Machines in York County Initiative, is on the ballot in Maine as a indirect initiated state statute on November 7, 2017.

“yes” vote supports this initiative to authorize the Maine Gambling Control Board to accept an application for a license to operate slot machines or a casino in York County, Maine.
“no” vote opposes this initiative to authorize the Maine Gambling Control Board to accept an application for a license to operate slot machines or a casino in York County, Maine.

Binbin

 

10 Casinos in New England by 2020 – An Update

Everyone likes to speculate about the future – at least I do when it comes to the future of gaming in New England. It’s time to bring out my inner Zoltar and look ahead.

The stage has been set for the opening of full blown casino gambling expansion in New England by 2020. While there may be changes along the way – there always seem to be – the final New England Casino Portfolio should look like this:

Maine – 2 Casinos:

Hollywood Casino, Hotel & Raceway in Bangor, ME. Owner – Penn National
Oxford Casino, Oxford ME. Owner – Churchill Downs LLC.Hampton Inn at

New Hampton Inn across the street from Oxford Casino.

The Oxford casino will see expansion with Hampton Inn on Route 26 across from the entrance and it’s own hotel and expanded dining & gaming by the summer of 2018.  The treacherous cross over RT 26 from the Hampton Inn is also getting altered for safety reasons.

Massachusetts – 3 Casinos:

Plainridge Casino (Slots only) & Raceway, Plainville, MA. Owner – Penn National
Wynn Boston Harbor, Everett, MA. Owner – Wynn Resorts

rendering of entranc at Wynn Boston Harbor

Rendering of entrance at Wynn Boston Harbor

MGM Springfield, Springfield, MA. Owner – MGM Resorts International

A possible 4th Massachusetts Casino was slated for Taunton, MA.  First Light Resort, Taunton, MA. Owner – Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal NationTribal Council. The First Light casino, hotel and entertainment complex was to be built on a 151-acre industrial park that’s part of the Cape Cod-based tribe’s recently designated federal reservation. First Light at this time is being weighted down in a lawsuit brought on by a group of Taunton residents wanting to overturn the U.S. Department of Interior’s decision to declare land in trust for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, which it plans to use to build the $500 million casino in the city. At this time, NETG believes it will not be completed any time soon. With the delay, First Light is hopelessly behind Wynn & MGM Springfield.

First Light

First Light Resort Casino, Wampanoag Tribe, Taunton May never see completion.

Rhode Island – 2 Casinos:

Twin River Casino (with expanded Hotel), Lincoln, RI. Owner – Twin River Management Group
Newport Grand, Newport, RI Closed for new Tiverton Resort, Tiverton, RI. (Move to Tiverton is expected by 2020) Owner – Twin River Management Group.

Proposed Tiverton Casino

Connecticut – 3 Tribal Casinos:

Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashatucket, CT. Owner – The Mashentucket Pequot Tribal Nation
Mohegan Sun Resort Casino, Uncasville, CT. Owner – The Mohegan Tribe of CT
MMCT Pequot & Mohegan Casino Venture, East Windsor, CT.

Proposed MMCT joint venture casino between CT’s Mohegan & Pequot tribes

The third casino in CT, by MMCT, is held up by the Bureau of Indian Affairs concerning a casino off tribal lands. It will be built, however.

A 4th Casino is being pushed on Bridgeport, CT by MGM.  It’s future is dim at best.

 

Zoltar is tired and I’ve run out of nickels.  Time to sit back and let the future unfold.

Binbin

Referendum for Maine’s Third Casino Arriving Soon

A rendering of the proposed York County Casino, courtesy of the Portland Press Herald

According to  Scott Thistle of the Portland Press Herald, “a relatively small number of voters will decide whether to expand Medicaid and approve a casino in York County in November…..But if 2017 ends up looking anything like 2011 – the last year voters had no statewide races to decide except ballot questions on casinos – then less than half of the state’s registered voters will cast ballots.”  There is still a question whether the Pro Casino will get permission for absentee voting, and reeking havoc with the low voter turnout.

Overall voter turnout in 2011 was 43 percent, as voters decided against two casino ballot questions for Lewiston and Biddeford.

Shawn Scott, on the right, with attorney Courtesy Herald Press

It seems like the casino thing in Maine is like washing your hair – mix shampoo in hair, rinse out shampoo for clean hair, and repeat. However in Maine, they are always seemingly rinsing out the dirt from Shawn Scott & Co.

Economic experts continue to be skeptical about the York County casino bringing more than 2,000 jobs and $45 million in annual tax revenue to the area.  After all, the building of Oxford Casino included the prediction of $60 million in annual tax income, but has only produced about $32 million annually.

And then there is the referendum that is written to allow only one person, Shawn Scott, to apply for a permit to build a casino at an unspecified location in York County. Scott is an international gambling entrepreneur who won voter approval to add slot machines to Bangor’s struggling horse track in 2003. He then sold those rights to Penn National – which still operates what is now Hollywood Casino – for $51 million as regulators scrutinized his businesses and associates.  For a related articles, click on Maine’s Third Casino A Bad Bet  and Maine’s Third Casino – The Ultimate Scam Allowed by No Legislative Policy

Hollywood Casino, Bangor MaineThere are some who consider Hollywood Bangor a rousing success, and a great example of how casinos can help communities keep taxes down, create new jobs, spur tourism and economic development and generate additional funding for critical education, health care and agriculture priorities.  But, this is the same property that was asking for property assessment reduction in a dispute with the city of Bangor? The lower assessment that resulted from those talks stemmed largely from Hollywood Casino’s declining revenue since the opening of its main competitor, Oxford Casino. Rousing success?  Hollywood has had its slow times over the years.

Progress For Maine wants casino legislation

So, NETG still thinks that a third casino closer to Wynn Boston Harbor (Oxford & Hollywood are more north) will not be able to compete and will not do what the pro-casino group Progress for Maine wants.

Here’s the rundown on the vote:

Maine Question 1, the Casino or Slot Machines in York County Initiative, is on the ballot in Maine as a indirect initiated state statute on November 7, 2017.

“yes” vote supports this initiative to authorize the Maine Gambling Control Board to accept an application for a license to operate slot machines or a casino in York County, Maine.
“no” vote opposes this initiative to authorize the Maine Gambling Control Board to accept an application for a license to operate slot machines or a casino in York County, Maine.

The third casino’s window in Maine has closed. Another option for expanded gambling is needed to take the place of a full casino in southern Maine.

Binbin

 

Hollywood Bangor, Maine Bravo! – Casino Industry Challenge

Hollywood Casino, Bangor Maine

Hollywood Casino, Bangor Maine

A short shout-out to Hollywood Hotel, Casino and Raceway in Bangor for their Tito’s for Tata’s promotion in October.

As you know, October is annually Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  So many women and families have suffered the pain and loss that breast cancer can bring.  

Sarah Robinson was a remarkable human being… her laugh, smile, and sense of humor, coupled with her love for people, generosity and strength made her incredibly unique. Born a twin in Greenville, Maine, she moved to the town of Dexter at the age of three with her family.  Sarah’s battle with breast cancer gave birth to the idea to build a cancer hospitality house to serve the biggest, most rural part of Maine. Sarah met with the people she knew through Rotary and her work in the community, and the process of creating the future Sarah’s House began.  Sarah Lunette Robinson, 26, died Sunday, December 4, 2011, but her legacy continues at Sarah’s House.

This month, Hollywood Bangor is doing it’s part.  Find their Tito’s for Tata’s box on the gaming floor at Hollywood Bangor and make a contribution to Sarah’s House of Maine all month long in October. For more info visit: Sarahshouseofmaine.org.TITO stands for Ticket-In, Ticket-Out.  It refers those ticket vouchers that years ago replaced actual cash & coins.

According to Thomas Moore of the Las Vegas Sun, “Gamblers left more than $35 million on casino floors in the past five years, money the state of Nevada was happy to come along and pick up. The cash came in the form of slot and video machine tickets that players either lost, forgot about or simply didn’t bother to turn in.”

In other words, whatever casino it may be, all those TITO tickets not cashed in is more revenue for the casino in unclaimed money.

We all have then hanging around – $.13 here, $.27 there – some in your purse or wallet, others on the floor of your car.  Just think what good those pennies could do for needy causes – Harvey in Houston, Maria in Puerto Rico, for example.  How about helping out the Red Cross, research for Cancer, Gehrig’s Disease, MS, ….. and the list goes on.

I CHALLENGE CASINOS  AND CASINO INDUSTRY GIANTS TO PUT THEIR MONEY WHERE THEIR MOUTH IS.  FOLLOW THIS MODEL IN BANGOR, MAINE AND MAKE SOME GOOD HAPPEN BY PROVIDING FOR THE COLLECTION OF THOSE TITO TICKETS (especially less than a $1) TOWARDS LOCAL NEEDS.  SO MUCH IS SAID BY THESE GAMBLING PROPERTIES ON HOW MUCH THEY CARE FOR THEIR COMMUNITIES – WELL, PROVE IT.

Ticket In, Ticket Out! TITO

Ticket In, Ticket Out! TITO

TITO’S FOR__________________________  JUST FILL IN THE BLANK.

Congratulations, Hollywood Bangor. A small attempt to help is well appreciated and will go along way to helping Sarah’s House.

 

Maine’s Third Casino A Bad Bet

Maine’s third try at a casino in York County will not be the charm.

York County, Maine om the Mass & NH borders where the third Casino in Maine is proposed

York County, Maine om the Mass & NH borders where the third Casino in Maine is proposed

I must admit, covering another casino proposal in Maine is much like covering the NFL’s Buffalo Bills – so much promise for the season, but a championship is just never going to happen.

In this episode of “As The Maine Casino Turns,” we find a growing optimistic sentiment that Maine can enjoy the profits of a third casino and keep revenue in the state from going south to Massachusetts.

Rebecca Foster’s OpEd in CentralMaine.com, “Casino success that benefited Bangor can happen in York County,” praises the presence of Maine’s first casino saying, “By virtually any measure, the Hollywood Casino Hotel & Raceway has been a tremendous success…..What has worked for Maine and Mainers for more than 10 years can work once again — this time, in southern Maine.”

Hollywood Casino, Bangor Maine

Hollywood Casino, Bangor Maine

According to Casino.org, “A study conducted by Florida-based consulting firm Evans, Carroll & Associates claims the casino would generate 2,767 construction jobs and 2,165 permanent employment opportunities, $6.1 million in lodging revenue in the first year, and at least $45 million in tax revenue.  The economic analysis was funded by lobbying organization Progress for Maine, the main supporters of the casino.” On Nov. 7, voters across the state will have the chance to weigh in and vote yes on Question 1 for a third Maine Casino.

Ethics Trouble Again?

However, in June, the Maine Ethics Commission voted unanimously to investigate the $4.3 million ballot initiative in support of building a casino in York County. Once again, Shawn Scott emerged as the fundamental party of this casino push. Refusing to give Mr. Scott and his sister Lisa Scott, being investigated by the ethics committee, more coverage than they deserve, I’ll lead you to Casino.org’s article Controversial Maine Casino Backer Finally Surfaces, Hires ‘Firm Behind Brexit’ if you are interested in more information.  However back to “As the Maine Casino Turns.”

Shawn Scott, on the right, with attorney Courtesy Herald Press

The casino is actually being touted as an entertainment center, more than just a casino with slot machines and gaming options. This will feature a concert venue, space to hold community events, and more.  I guess it will mimic those other “non-casino, entertainment” venues in New England, like Wynn Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, Foxwoods, and Mohegan Sun.

Recent History Says “No”

Do we need to remind “Mainiacs” of the previous history in York County, documented by NETimeGambling?

  • From 2016 – “Maine residents have already shown resistance to a third casino in their state – even after a study a few years ago concluded another casino in York County might be feasible.  But, much like we have seen in New Hampshire, a third Vegas-style casino in Maine has been an on-again, off-again proposition – mostly off.” – Maine Casino Proposal – Again?
  • From January, 2016 – “…are they (Maine) so naive to think that it isn’t too late to compete against Wynn Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield and New York States northern casinos? – Additional Maine Casino Gambling – Too Much, Too Little, Too Late
  • From 2015 – “Remember when Maine was thinking about more casinos two years ago with the immediate success of the Oxford Casino?” – Maine Casinos – Have They Lived Their Best Days Already?

The Bottom Line

Progress For Maine wants casino legislation

Maine deserves the benefits of another casino – more jobs, boosting neighboring economy, increased tourism, and increased state revenue. Trying to compete on the scale of Wynn Boston Harbor, only an hour away from York county, won’t do. Those wanting a resort/casino experience already drive down I-95 to Connecticut. This proposition by the “Progress For Maine” lobby group just seems shady, at best. Residents should back this proposed vote in November if the majority want it.  After the brief history of the previous years, and the slow progress of it’s two casinos, I’d say Maine is good with two casinos.

NETG Alternative Proposal

Plainridge Park Casino

Plainridge Park Casino, Plainville, MA

Instead of a large casino to compete with Wynn, NETG believes a convenience casino, similar to Plainridge Park Casino in Massachusetts, would get the benefits from gambling York County in looking for.  Table game players, VIP’s, will still frequent Wynn, but the low-to-mid rollers who prefer to stay closer will visit that venue – with or without the entertainment center and convention space.

If you want the gambling revenue, build something that will work in the long run, and don’t compete with the big boys. Just sayin’…..

Bin

 

 

Gambling Saturation Still A Concern In New England

At least two to three times each year, someone brings up the “S” word concerning casino gambling in the northeast:

SATURATION

“Casino Saturation” is a concern everywhere in the U.S.  Between the Lottery, Tribal & Commercial Casinos, 43 states have casino legalized gambling. As the debate about online and fantasy gambling continues to be battled out, it seems more gambling instead of less is America’s yearning.

When Oxford Casino in Maine was built, saturation was mentioned since there was already a casino in Maine – Hollywood, in Bangor.  It was feared that the two would financially cannibalize each other without enough gamblers for two casinos. But, both continue to survive.  Within the past two years, one study suggested that Maine could withstand another casino, but was dismissed twice by the Maine Legislature.

New Hampshire continues to visit the casino option, but has had it defeated 4 times mostly due to the possible competition with Massachusetts gambling properties.

Massachusetts excluded the Brockton Southeast Gaming License due to the Wampanoag Casino in Taunton and the many stages of flux it was in.  Two large casinos in Southeastern Mass. was considered too much by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

Rhode Island continues to move casinos around and is building a hotel for Twin River to compete with Massachusetts and Connecticut.

ALL BECAUSE OF THE FEAR OF CASINO SATURATION!

Connecticut studies, ironically made by MGM, suggested another casino in southwestern CT would be a plausible candidate for casino expansion, as Mohegan & Pequot tribes start plans for their joint casino near the border of MGMSpringfield.

In his articleGrowing Gambling Facilities In The Northeast U.S.: Is There A Market For Them All?, Elliott R. Morss provides tables of gaming progression in select casinos, including Wynn & MGM. The article implies that the survival of both Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods is in jeopardy.  Why:

The old casino model of 80/20 – that’s 80% from gambling revenue and 20% from entertainment, dining, etc., – is changing to a more “integrated resort development” in new casinos.  Both Wynn & MGM are building newer casinos in New England with that in mind. For a related post, click on our article MGM Springfield Casino Will Be an “Urban” Casino.

However, as we started, isn’t this the same worry we’ve heard for years?  While the CT casinos have felt the pinch and haven’t fully recovered from the 2007 Recession, they continue to diversify and look to additional interests in the “integrated resort” concept.  And both have cut gambling machines and tables down to more manageable numbers.

Mohegan Casino Resort near Airport. Project is licensed in Korea.

Mohegan Sun continues it’s quest for a casino in Korea, and developing a large swath of land across the river from its casino that will include retail, housing and more.  Foxwoods has added more thrill rides and continues to re-invent itself.  CT Casino #3, the  MMCT third casino in East Windsor still has big old MGM worried, or they wouldn’t be still trying to stop it through the courts.

So, I say gambling is increasing – in New England, in the east, all over the country.  There isn’t a finite number of gamblers.  The pie just gets larger.  With the soon-to-be-changed law on sports betting, more opportunities will be available for CT, MA, RI & the rest of the northeast.

Wynn, MGM, Tiverton will all serve different purposes and different players. Let’s see what the future of gaming in New England holds before we once again think the sky is falling!

Binbin

 

 

 

 

Blackjack Side Bets in New England Casinos

According to John Grochowski, side bets in Blackjack are offered for two basic reasons, “….to add a little excitement for players who want more out of the game than trying to grind out a profit one bet at a time, and to increase action to generate more profit for the house.”

What are the side bets offered in New England’s Casinos for Blackjack?  And are they worth playing?

We will list the side bets, explain a little about them, and give John Grochowsk’s take on if it’s worth it.  Keep in mind some side bet paytables differ even with the same game.  My suggestions is to check out the Wizard of Odds for more on side bets variance for blackjack.

Match The Dealer

In New England’s casinos, there are a variety of side bets.  The most popular is Match the Dealer, which can be found at Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods and Twin River in Rhode Island.  

The Match the Dealer side bet pays when either of the player’s first two cards match the dealer’s up card. According to Traditional blackjack, the payouts are as follows:

  • 1 non-suited match pays 4 to 1;
  • 2 non-suited matches pay 8 to 1;
  • One suited match pays 11 to 1;
  • One suited match and one non-suited match pay 15 to 1;
  • 2 suited matches pay 22 to 1.

According to many players, this side bet has a fixed house advantage that is fairly high, several times higher than blackjack. Not a good bet.

Lucky Ladies

Lucky Ladies side bet c an be found at the HOLLYWOOD Casino, Hotel & Raceway in Bangor, ME. LUCKY LADIES™ BONUS BET is a side bet based on the player’s first two cards and the dealer’s up card. As far as I know, it is the first side bet to be based on the player’s first two cards and the dealer’s up card. Since it came out, there have been many imitators.  Lucky Ladies is also known as, “The 20 Point Bonus Wager” point count of their first 2 cards equals 20.

PAYOUT SCHEDULE – First two cards: Queen of Hearts Pair (with Dealer Blackjack) = 1,000 to 1; Queen of Hearts Pair = 125 to 1; Matched 20 = 19 to 1, Suited 20 = 9 to 1;  Any 20 = 4 to 1

JG – Lucky Ladies: There’s the possibility of huge wins here, with a 1,000-1 bonanza if the player is dealt two queens of hearts while the dealer has a blackjack, or 125-1 on a pair of heart ladies regardless of the dealer hand. In the version I’ve seen, there’s also a 19-1 payoff on a 20 if both cards are the same rank and suit, 9-1 on a suited 20 on cards of different ranks, such as jack-king, or 4-1 on an unsuited 20.
That’s an attraction, to be sure, but at a 24.71 percent house edge, the cost is high. Average loss per hour is a whopping $14.83 of the $60 at risk. That dwarfs the average blackjack loss for a $10-a-hand basic strategy player, and is even higher than the loss for an average player.
Think about it: That extra $1 per hand more than doubles the average loss for a $10 blackjack bettor who is just an average player.
For those who don’t limit the side bets to a buck, just multiply by your bets. Make the side bets equal to your $10 blackjack bets, and average losses shoot up to about $20 an hour in 21 + 3, $40 in Royal Match, and $148 in Lucky Ladies.

“21+3”

This side bet, found at Oxford Casino, in Oxford,ME., pays based on the player’s first two cards and the dealer’s up card. If the three cards equal a flush, straight, straight flush, or three of a kind the side bet pays 9 to 1.  It does come in various versions according to the number of decks.

JG – “21 + 3: At mostly full tables, the $1 side bets mean a risk of $60 per hour. The 3.24 percent house edge means a few pennies shy of $2 extra in the house coffers. For basic strategy players, that’s just $1 less than the losses from betting 10 times as much on the main game.
Average players who are losing $12 an hour might find that extra two bucks palatable for the chance at 9-1 payoffs if their two cards plus the dealer’s up card form a flush, straight or three of a kind. It’s a much smaller leap from their regular loss rate of $1.20 per $60 wagered.

“In BETween”

This blackjack side bet has been seen a few places here and there, and in New England, it’s found found at Oxford Casino. According to Mike Shackelford, the “Wizard of Odds” himself, “The goal is for one card to fall between two others in rank. In this case, the primary goal is the dealer’s up card to fall between the player’s initial two cards.”

Progressives

The “Super Four” side bet in Mohegan Sun is the only location to offer it in New England.  Here’s more on the bet:

  • The side bet is $5 and $5 only.
  • The circle will be to the left of the blackjack bet as Match The Dealer will be retained in it’s usual place.
  • Super 4 is a progressive blackjack side bet based on the four cards consisting of the player’s and dealer’s initial two cards.
  • In both, the player wins on a dealer blackjack. The amount of the win depends on the poker value of all four cards.

One gentleman walked away feeling very lucky on July 12th after hitting the Super 4 Diamonds bonus jackpot totaling $347,456.

At Foxwoods, Blackjack Match Progressive is offered. Here’s more on the bet:

  • Blackjack Match is a side bet that wins if the player and/or the dealer have a blackjack.
  • The value of the win is maximized if the blackjacks are suited and match.
  • Unlike most other progressive side bets, this one costs $5 instead of $1 and are on a “for one” basis, meaning the original wager is not returned on a win.
  • On the top two awards, there is an “Envy Bonus,” which means a win for every other player at the table who made the side bet.

 

We visited all 7 New England Casinos this summer.  This is part of what we found.  More comparisons and info will be presented throughout the fall.

That’s all for now.