NETimeGambling.com is bringing you an updated series that will culminate with a huge announcement. This series of posts will look into each state as of today, in the summer of 2022. We will start north and work our way to the coastline. Our first state is Maine. Here is Gambling in Maine-the Pine Tree State
Maine Gambling Timeline
- 1950 – the Scarborough racetrack opened, and Thoroughbred horse racing made its debut
- 1973 – voters approve a state-run lottery.
- 1973 – the Penobscot Nation opened a high-stakes bingo hall in Old Town.
- 1984 – the Maine State Lottery began operating and selling tickets.
- 1988 – with Congress passing the IGRA, tribes within Maine were permitted to negotiate with the state for gaming compacts. However, Maine has failed to allow tribes to expand their gaming past bingo or put modern bingo machines in their facilities.
- 2005 – Hollywood Slots Hotel & Raceway opens in Bangor, Maine
- 2012 – Oxford Casino opens. Hollywood Bangor adds table games.
- 2013 – Black Bear Development sells the Oxford casino to Churchill Downs Inc, which owns the property.
- 2017 – Oxford Casino Expands with a Hotel, new dining venues, and an expansion of the gaming floor opened. The new name was now Oxford Casino Hotel and Events Center.
Maine has two casinos. Oxford Hotel and Casino in Oxford and the Hollywood Slots in Bangor. The Summary by the Numbers is available below.
Oxford, four years ago, expanded with a 93,907-square-foot addition to the existing gaming facility and features more than 100 guest rooms, including six high-end suites and additional dining options, as well as an expansion of the gaming floor and meeting spaces.
Hollywood Bangor has taken a different route to the future. While already having a charming hotel, the smallest casino in New England has cut the number of table game offerings, discontinued craps, removed a few more slots, and discontinued two dining options, including its buffet.
Related Post – Oxford Is Maine’s Casino Destination
Maine Casinos “By The Numbers”
High Stakes Bingo – Gambling in Maine
Penobscot High Stakes Bingo was located in Old Town, Maine, and was extremely popular until it closed in 2015. In 1973, Penobscot High Stakes Bingo was one of the first commercial gambling operations on a reservation in the United States. The bingo floor was 27,000 square feet in size and had one restaurant.
Beginning in 2008, the Penobscot Indian Nation tried to pass a bill to enhance its existing gaming operation—a 30-year-old traditional bingo enterprise that uses a bingo caller and bingo cards. And for five straight years, the legislature turned down. Then, revenues plunged when Hollywood Slots casino in Bangor opened, 10 miles south of the tribe’s Indian Island home. To compete, the tribe wanted to upgrade its old-fashioned bingo operation. Still, the legislature said that the Nation’s proposed Class II bingo machines were Class III slot machines. This claim was refuted by two of the most reputable companies in the country that manufacture, test, and certify gaming machines.
Related Post – Maine Officials Block Penobscot Bingo Upgrade—Again
The facility was 27,000 square feet and was the 5th largest bingo hall in the US. It seated up to 1,800 bingo players and unfortunately had to close in 2015.
High Stakes Bingo is now only available and hosted by the Passamaquoddy Tribe at the Indian Township Community Center, also known as “The Rec.”
With the newly signed legislation, in-person betting will be allowed at casinos and off-track betting facilities (“tethering”). Tethered facilities were a significant point of contention in getting sports wagering legalized, which would tie mobile sportsbooks to in-state venues such as Maine’s two commercial casinos. Initially, it hadn’t.
Meanwhile, internet-based wagering sits with the state’s four federally recognized Native American tribes (Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Micmac, & Maliseet), who can each partner with one mobile sportsbook operator.
Related Post – Maine Mobile Sports Betting in Tribal Hands?
But despite all of the recent developments, it’s unlikely that mobile or retail betting will go live in Maine for quite some time. Representatives of the Maine Gambling Control Unit recently stressed that this is only the beginning of a rather lengthy process.
By Robin “Binbin” Aubin and NETimeGambling.com