My wife and I recently visited the Maine casinos. It was time for our usual Maine marathon to Hollywood Casino, Hotel and Raceway in Bangorand Oxford Casino and Hotel in Oxford. After four years in a row of reporting about these properties, it’s hard to understand why anyone besides locals in a two-hour radius would go to Bangor. That’s where we start. The fact is Hollywood Bangor hasn’t been updated in years.
In the four years of driving six hours north from the Connecticut Coast I would love to be able to tell of the wonderful things it offers. Frankly, it’s like going back in time. One major change is that they closed the Sundries store on the casino floor. It will become a marketing office. Hosts will now be available more readily. Ok, that’s a plus right?
The sundries store will be moved next to the hotel lobby check-in desk. It looks like it will be half the size. Not a good sign.
The fact is I don’t know of a good reason to visit besides it’s the local casino and “it’s too far to drive to Everett.” HB has seen a decline little by little. On a weekday night, with a free slot play “Midweek Moolah” promotion with $50 given away every 10 minutes, the place should have been buzzing. However, it wasn’t.
Random thoughts during the visit
We talked with a few regulars and they admitted they felt it was hard to win in this casino. Here are more concerns:
Hops House Hollywood Bangor
The restaurant Hops House 99 has even cut out some of its signature dishes like their Beer Can Chicken. Still has great beer on tap, but the menu seems more common with every visit.
New slots have been added, but the floor inventory us still very old.
The video poker is even worse than MGM Springfield and both of Rhode Island’s casinos. Video keno is offered, but the pay tables are lower with only single game cards available. You won’t find 4-card or multi-card.
The ambiance is old and needs a face lift.
Table games offer low limits midweek. $5 Craps with no extra bets like Fire Bet, but does have 3,4,5 odd p. Carnival games such include 3 card poker, High Hand Flush, and Heads Up Texas Hold ‘Em. One roulette table. Two blackjack games – both 3:2. One has wheel Bonus, other has lucky ladies and 21+3
Poker room did show some life, as small as it is.
Buffet is only open on weekends.
Hollywood Casino, Hotel & Raceway – Bangor Maine
The rooms are basic, comfortable and clean. Nice toiletries, coffee, water and free wi-fi offered for the $20 resort fee. The TV reception is nothing like other casino hotels with fuzzy channels and old flat devices. But, the hotel is still one of the better parts of the property. But the casino, which is the smallest in New England, doesn’t have enough to offer as reason for a staycation.
All things considered, I don’t recommend this hotel/casino. If it’s all you got for 150 miles that offers casino gambling, then you’re stuck. Your other options are to go north to Montreal, west to Oxford or south four hours to Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, MA.
Next stop, Oxford Casino and Hotel, a year after their expansion.
In 2004, voters approved slot machines for two racetrack facilities. Hollywood Slots in Bangor, Maine, opened in 2005. In 2010, voters approved a casino for Oxford County, as well. In 2012, the Oxford Casino opened. But before that, the Lottery was the first legal gambling option. On June 27, 1974, first lottery draw was held in the Pine Tree State.
In 2014, a legislative bill provided for two tribal casinos on native land. This is facing opposition from the business interests behind the existing casinos. The Maine legislature rejected a proposed third casino in York county, southern Maine.
Current Legal Types Of Gambling
Hotel at Hollywood, Bangor
Oxford Casino, Maine
Casinos: There are 2 casino / hotels with slots and table games in Maine. The first was Hollywood Bangor Casino, Hotel and Raceway in 2003. Owned by Penn National Gaming, it is the smallest casino in New England. The Oxford Casinoopened in Oxford, ME in 2012. Churchill Downs, LTD owns this casino. In addition, Oxford recently added its hotel a year ago.
Live Poker: Social poker games are legal if not organized or profit from gambling. As long as nobody is taking rake or making a profit from the games, then there should not be any problem. The only casino poker room is at Hollywood Bangor.
Sports Betting: Maine legislators are pushing for legal Sports Betting. A bill that now only needs the Governor’s approval will allow for both retail sports books inside the state’s gaming facilities as well as through state-wide online sports wagering apps provided by online sports betting providers. Consequently, the system could be up and working in time for the 2019-20 NFL season.
Lottery Betting: The usual lottery type games and the inter-state games are offered.
Bingo Betting: Yes, charity gambling is regulated. Maine uses the word ‘Beano’ to cover a lot of games in this area (a mix of Bingo and Keno?). You can also find high stakes bingo games on tribal lands in special ‘bingo casinos’.
Penn National Gaming operates two of the seven casinos in New England – Plainridge Park in Plainville, MA and Hollywood Casino, Hotel & Raceway in Bangor, ME.
The staff at NETimeGambling.com decided to visit both Maine casinos this past week. Today, part 2, as we drive to the furthest northeast casino withing the US borders. Today, we visit
Hollywood Casino, Hotel & Raceway in Bangor, ME.
Hollywood Casino, Bangor, Maine
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.
Hollywood Casino, Hotel & Raceway, Bangor Maine
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 makes our 4th trip to Bangor casino. Only two hours away from Oxford we decided to eat first. Dining later – let’s talk casino!
Level three of Five in the Marquee Rewards Program of Penn National
A brief word about Hollywood Bangor’s rewards club. 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.
Walking the Red Carpet to the Hollywood Casino
TRIP REPORT – Gambling
This isn’t a 24/7 facility. The property is open daily 8am – 3am. 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.
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.
I played craps at the only craps table early one morning for 15 minutes. The dealers were helpful and friendly, and I had the table to myself. But “3-point Molly” was not friendly. The same pattern happened five times in a row to my defeat. Point, Point, point, 7-out (appropriate odds were also added.) Off to slots I went. I ended on the “ultimate X” video poker machine, since VP is my best game, and played on $50 for almost an hour. I guess I should have started there!
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.
TRIP REPORT – Dining
Our first dining experience was next to the property and suggested by some of the staff – Geaghan Brothers Brewing Company. Bangor has some great brew-houses, such as this and Sea Dog Brewing in walking distances.
Geaghan’s was a real treat. I would go back in a heart-beat. Great original brews. We tried a flight of four 5 oz beers for only $5.25, an outstanding price, especially for great beer. We preferred their Raspberry Pale Ale, but all four were delicious. Once again, we asked for changes to their menu to cater to our needs, and Bryan was terrific as our server getting it done. Our burgers were lean, tasty and cooked to our liking. But if you have limited time – just have a beer.
Hollywood Bangor is limited in dining options, much like Oxford. The Epic Buffet is only open on the weekend. Your choices are the Hops House 99 (which took the Celebrity Restaurant’s place) and Take 2 – more of an express dining experience.
Hops House 99 is another brewpub, only specializing in other 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. Because we had been freezing for two days in VERY cold casinos, we decided to go dark & malty. We picked two outstanding beers – Rogue’s Mocha Porter & Horny Goat’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter (from Wisconsin). Nothing like having dessert in a can!
Our meals were good. Their menu has enough choice to make anyone happy. I decided to try the Beer Can Roasted Chicken, as seen in the pic. PBR was the beer used inside and it was moist. I highly recommend this dish. Service was timely and friendly – a definite “re-visit.”
Take 2 Snack Bar 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. We had breakfast, since it’s the only thing open on a Wednesday. It was 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.
Hollywood Hotel Lobby, Bangor Maine
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.
Note – on some summer weekend night, the Darling Event Center has some of the best country performers. On those nights, the casino & hotel can be, well let’s just say, a little more boisterous?
Great Trip, Enjoyable Casino
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 quieter. The staff all over the property are concerned that you have the best visit. We’ll be back – there’s something about visiting Maine in June & July that begins the summer right.