Hollywood Casino, Hotel & Raceway – Maine Trip Report

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, Hotel & Raceway, Bangor Maine

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

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

Level three of Five in the Marquee Rewards Program of Penn National

Marquee Rewards

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.

Binbin

 

 

Penn Gaming Raising the Social Media Bar in New England Casinos

2 Casinos in New England

2 Casinos in New England – Bangor, Maine & Plainville, Massachusetts

Penn National Gaming, who owns Plainridge Park Casino & Raceway in Plainville, Massachusetts & Hollywood Casino, Hotel & Raceway in Bangor, Maine are ramping up its image with increased and improved promotions.  The promotions are many and interesting.  Hollywood alone shows more media connections by offering patrons daily emails of news and promos.

Hollywood Casino, Maine

Hollywood Casino, Maine

Before the Massachusetts expansion, Hollywood’s Bangor Casino seemed to be riding the tide of being the only hotel/casino in the area, with Twin River Casino in Rhode Island the closest competitor. But with competition from Oxford Casino in Oxford, Maine and Massachusetts, things needed to get serious.  Hollywood’s website and media effort seemed almost like an afterthought – until the last few months.th

Now, Penn Gaming is raising the bar in entertainment, dining, and gambling promotions to get you – yes YOU – in the door.

Penn National Gaming, through its subsidiaries, owns, operates or has ownership interests in gaming and racing facilities with a focus on slot machine entertainment. The Company presently operates twenty-six facilities in seventeen jurisdictions, including Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia, and Ontario.

Plainridge Park Casino in Massachusetts

Plainridge Park Casino in Massachusetts

The company traces its roots to Penn National Race Course, which opened in 1972. As recent as April 2015, the company agreed to purchase the Tropicana for $360 million to gets it’s first pretense on the Las Vegas Strip.

Plainridge has shown success beyond the Bay State’s dreams.  It’s location, newness, and continued push through social media continues to impress – not resting on its summer laurels.  And now, Penn it starting the same social media barrage in Maine – a very needed addition to raise Hollywood in Bangor out of its roller coaster revenue ride.

If you check out the two casino websites, you will find expanded promotions schedules, racing schedules, login ability to check your Marquee Rewards, and more. Entertainment schedules are still included, with many different options through out the week, especially in Plainville.

Hollywood Casino Hotel in Bangor, Maine

Hollywood Casino Hotel in Bangor, Maine

So, click on the side bar links and get to know Penn’s two casinos – the only two casinos in New England linked by the same rewards club!  mrrewards-927x282And take a weekend this autumn to drive to Hollywood if you live in southern New England.  The hotel is nice, Bangor is a great little town, the foliage should be awesome (don’t wait too long) and check out the Casino.

That’s all for now.

Binbin

Maine Casinos, Your Future is Now

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Mist – a small club at Mohegan Sun, Slightly larger than Sound Stage at Hollywood Casino in Bangor, Maine

It is definitely a trend in Las Vegas, which means when casino gambling gets full-blown in New England by 2018, casinos may need to rely on it more and gambling less.

What is the “IT” trending? – Entertainment, bars, dance clubs, drinking and food.

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LAVO Nightclub, Las Vegas

The latest surveys show more people visit Las Vegas of late due to the overall experience, not as much gambling.  Besides, if you look around, almost anyone in the US can drive two hours or much less to gamble.  Now, gamblers are looking for a more varied, entertaining experience with expanded amenities to spend their money on besides gambling – a fun time. (Why else would you find people playing 6:5 blackjack at the “Party Pit” instead of the 3:2 standard blackjack that pays higher?)

It has taken awhile, but ground was finally broken a few weeks ago for a new four-and-a-half story hotel and restaurant across the street where the remnants of an old barn on farmland is now being cleared away to make room for a Hampton Inn. th (58)The Hampton Inn will take about a year to build. It will cost $12 million and employ more than 50 people If they fill the hotel like I think they will, the next step will be to make the casino larger and add food/entertainment ventures.

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1 Hour 45 minute drive from Portland ME to Boston MA

A group of veterans came together to call on lawmakers to support a new casino in southern Maine that would help veterans’ services. Under the proposed bill, a 16 percent tax would be levied on certain games and the revenue would go to veterans services. A portion of the proceeds would also go to support harness racing.  While the harness racing industry needs help, Maine doesn’t need another casino in the south to compete with the Boston Mass license. While I respect the veterans and feel badly for the disarray that some veteran support groups have fallen into, it will take away from Oxford and it won’t be able to compete with the stronger, larger Boston Casino coming in 2018. Basically, it will not succeed! My suggestion, Oxford should become bigger and better. more people staying over, more revenue. The hotel is key.

Hollywood Casino Hotel in Bangor, Maine

Hollywood Casino Hotel in Bangor, Maine

Maybe, Penn Gaming will finally sink some money into Hollywood Casino, Hotel & Raceway.  Bangor, Maine is great little town, with a casino already showing wear. Build around a great hotel at the site and expand the casino & entertainment venue. The addition of the celebrity Grill is a great example.  But they need more to get people in. I think Bangor is just waiting for a nightclub that will entertain the residents during those long, cold winter nights. And with so many great beer brewers in Maine, introduce a Maine brewer, like Sea Dog Brewing right down the street, or Allagash or  Sebago.  Twin River in Rhode Island did it with Shipyard Brewing (Maine Brewer), and Mohegan Sun introduced CT’s own Thomas Hooker brewery in it’s Racebook.

It’s all about the impending competition.  Maine needs to attract and keep it’s own patrons with its unique brands.

Oh, Oxford – you may have to add and update those four stop lights you have in town.

That’s all for now.

Binbin