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’.
By 2019, New England’s line-up of casinos will include:
Two new casinos in Massachusetts
Newport Grand moved from Newport to Tiverton, Rhode Island
Maybe an additional casino in Connecticut.
The most important component favoring New England’s tourism business is the additional casino-attached hotel rooms offered in the area. This is not keeping in mind the affiliate hotels in each casino’s surrounding area, just those attached or directly on the property.
Fox and Grand Pequot Hotels & Casinos
At this time, the seven operating “brick & mortar” casinos offer 4018 hotel rooms on their properties, with Foxwoods having the most with 2266 rooms and suites. There are only 3 Resort/Casinos that have hotels connected – Foxwoods (2266 rooms), Mohegan Sun (1600 rooms with the addition of the Earth Tower), Hollywood (152 rooms).
Withing the next two years, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine will add hotel rooms increasing the total number of casino hotel rooms by over 30%.
The walls have begun to go up on the Hampton Inn on Route 26 across from the entrance to the Oxford Casino. Oxford Casino’s own hotel is also being constructed.
Oxford Casino, in Oxford, Maine will be completing their hotel later this year. Expansion of the existing Oxford Casino facility will feature over 100 new guestrooms including standard rooms and suites, additional dining options, an expansion of the gaming floor and new flexible meeting and banquet space. This hotel, as well as the unaffiliated Hampton Inn completed across the street, will have the greatest impact for tourists looking to stay and help the central Maine tourism improve its possible accommodations.
Wynn Boston Harbor
In Massachusetts, the addition of two new resort/casinos – MGM Springfield & Wynn Boston Harbor – will add almost 900 rooms. Wynn is expected to have 700 rooms, including Deluxe rooms, Parlor Suites and Panoramic View Suites. Click here for a look.
New rendering of MGM Springfield’s hotel without tower.
MGM Springfield, after downsizing its tower, will include a four-star luxury hotel with 250 guest rooms and 20 VIP suites.
Rhode Island’s casinos, both owned by Twin River Management, will undergo changes that will challenge casinos in both Massachusetts & Connecticut. Tiverton Town Council unanimously approved new zoning regulations that will allow Twin River Management Group Incorporated to construct its planned Twin River Tiverton Casino Hotel . Leaving Newport Grand for a new casino on a 45-acre site only a few hundred feet from the Rhode Island border with Massachusetts will challenge the progress that Plainridge Park has enjoyed in the last year. The Herald News reported that the plan for the Twin River Tiverton Casino Hotel moreover calls for the construction of an 84-room hotel along with a two-level parking garage capable of holding up to 1,800 cars
Proposed Tiverton Casino
In Lincoln RI, Twin River Casino has seen much success in recent years with the addition of table games. John Taylor, chairman of the board at Twin River, said construction should begin this spring on an approximately 140-room hotel that will be built at the north entrance of Twin River, opening in July 2018. While Taylor admits “It’s not going to change the complexion of who we are – we are a convenience casino operator,” the hotel should bring in others around New England with hopes of staying for a day or two.
North entrance area where new hotel is expected to be built (left side of picture).
The additional room total after 2019 is approximately over 2000 rooms added. This improvement should change some of the “convenience” gambling to resort-status for more New England Casinos.
One note – If the Mashpee Wampanoag “First Light” Casino/Resort project is able to be completed, a total of 600 rooms will be offered in two phases in Taunton, near Plainridge Park, Wynn and Tiverton – another increase of 10% of the then over 6000 rooms available at New England casinos.
These are all welcome additions and should ease the concern of casino saturation. The pool of gamblers would be expanded by the ability for gamblers outside of New England to stay and move to other casinos in proximity, thus making all 9 or 10 casinos not completely dependent on local gaming.
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.
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. 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.
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
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.