Oxford Is Maine’s Casino Destination

Maine has two commercial casino properties. On our recent Maine Casino tour, we visited both Hollywood Bangor and Oxford properties. After our visit to both, we are certain that our comparison proves one thing. Oxford Is Maine’s Casino Destination.

Oxford Hotel

Night time at Oxford Casino and Hotel

Oxford Casino and Hotel opened in 2012 and was purchased by Churchill Downs LTD soon after. As only a small casino, Oxford was located out in the woods of central Maine. It still pushed forward until Hilton built a Hampton Inn across the street and Churchill Downs started expansion.  A hotel was built attached to the casino and dining options were increased with the addition of of the Ox Pub. The casino was also expanded.

Related Post – 2018 Oxford Casino Trip Report

Related Post – Oxford Casino Opens New Hotel in Maine as Part of Expansion Plan

Oxford Is Maine’s Casino Destination

Upon arriving in Oxford, it brought back memories of old roads, construction and a town best known by the town next door.  Poland is the that town famous for Poland Springs bottled water. However, Oxford grew with its casino and now is a town on the move.

New Hampton Inn across the street from Oxford Casino.

We stayed at the Hampton Inn across the street this year instead of the casino’s casino like last year. Hampton Inn is supplied with a dedicated shuttle from Oxford Casino to cross the dangerous road that separates them. Either two hotels are a great stay, with Oxford Hotel usually with a little higher price.

Oxford Casino 

We arrived midweek, and it seems every day at Oxford has at least one promotion going. This day had Score Four and a promotion for a free buffet after earning 400 players points.  Both Bert and I, playing 60 cents on slots for two hours, easily made the free buffet.  Sweet! The buffet in the Oxford Grille was quite good, with tender turkey, scrumptious sausage, peppers and onions, and excellent pasta with summer squash and zucchini. If not free, players can use 10 players points from their Oxford Rewards account.

The slots are packed in, similar to how MGM Springfield began. You will find many of the newest slots with older favorites spread around them.  The casino floor was buzzing with lots of players. Table games were close to maxed out with few chairs available. Two roulette, one Craps, four Blackjack, and other table games were offered.  Rules were good, but minimums started at $10.  The only $5 table was 3 Card Poker. The only tables not full of players were mini-bac and 4 Card Poker.

Dining

Three dining options are available on property.  But the Ox Pub is the best choice for a good meal and outstanding drinks.  The taps are predominately Maine craft brewers. But NETG would like to see one more eatery to be available for the larger clientele.

Ox Pub, Oxford Casino

Random Points

  • The Video poker continues to be better.  Pay tables and variety of games are below expected standard.  Even Hollywood Bangor has one Ultimate X machine.
  • I could not find any Video Keno. Maybe some of the Game King machines in another room included it, but if so, that would make about 8.
  • Oxford Hotel Lobby is a good place to get away from it all. Comfy chairs, quieter and decent Wi-Fi.
  • If you are a Hilton Rewards member, stay at the Hampton Inn and get credit.  They also have a great breakfast.
  • Both Maine casinos are smoke-free, indeed self service beverage stations, and do not comp drinks.

Its always fun to go up to Maine for a casino trip.  We also found two little food suggestions.  Try Figgy’s in Portland.  Great skillet fried chicken by a Food Channel Chopped Champion.  And oddly enough, one Irving Gas stop in Newport, ME, includes a great little restaurant with great breakfast all day.  Get the fried bologna as a side!

Binbin

 

Hollywood Bangor Hasn’t Been Updated in Years

My wife and I recently visited the Maine casinos. It was time for our usual Maine marathon to Hollywood Casino, Hotel and Raceway in Bangor and 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.

Related Posts – Previous Hollywood Trip Report 

what does Hollywood Bangor really offer?

https://www.hollywoodcasinobangor.com/

Small casino needs a facelift.

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

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.

The Hotel

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.

Binbin

Social Media and New England Casinos – By the Numbers

 

One month ago, NETimeGambling updated our New England Casinos By the Numbers and added casino #9 – Encore Boston Harbor. It’s fun to compare casinos space, hotels, dining options and more. Recently, our Rhode Island correspondent, Miguel, asked the question, “how do these nine casinos compare with social media “likes?”  This interesting approach made us question how popular these properties are on social media, mainly Facebook. So, let’s look at Social Media and New England Casinos – By the numbers.

RELATED POST – New England Casinos by the Numbers – A Numeric Assessment of Each Property

Social Media and Casinos

Social Media and Casinos

Facebook

Before Facebook changes their “likes” feature, let’s look at how the New England’s gambling shacks compare.  In case you have been living under a rock, or just arrived from a different planet, here is what a Facebook “Like” is. According to Gina Porier of Smallbusiness.Chron.com, “The “Like” feature on Facebook is simple in nature. Users click “Like” to communicate what they think about anything. From a marketing perspective, it may be the most powerful tool Facebook has to offer. If you own a business and run a Facebook page, Facebook users can “Like” your page or any content you post on it, telling their friends that they like what you have to offer.”

Twitter

At its simplest, the Twitter Like button is a way of giving someone a virtual pat on the back, to say “good work guys, I like what you’re saying”. Likes are represented by a small heart and are used to show appreciation for a Tweet. You can view the Tweets you’ve liked from your profile page by clicking or tapping into the Likes tab. Maybe after we reveal the results, a few of New England’s casinos, (not mentioning any names – but it rhymes with “code-by-land”) should probably reed a related post –Eight reasons to use Twitter’s Like feature by Emma Pauw of We Talk Social.

INSTAGRAM

A picture is worth a thousand words. In a nutshell, Instagram is a photo sharing app which allows users to assign filters to photos and share them with followers.  Power Likes involve a large network of accounts that engage with each others content to give it a better chance of going viral.

The Stats

Now, we understand this is not a perfect comparison.  Those casinos in business longer have a better probability for more likes.  But when investigating Social Media and New England Casinos, some interesting results are found if you look carefully. So, how do our casinos measure up. Miguel found the following:

CASINO                                         FACEBOOK         TWITTER          INSTAGRAM             OPENED

Mohegan Sun (CT) – ————   652K ————-207.8K ———–  76K .                   1995

Foxwoods (CT) ——————-  423K ————  209.8K ———– 65.7K .                1992

Twin River (RI) ———————-  80K ————  5.5K ————–  4.4K .                  2007

Tiverton (RI) ————————  16K ————    887 —————  861 .                  2019

Encore Boston Harbor (MA) —-  44K ————-  8.5K ————– 37.3K .               2019

MGM Springfield (MA) ————  79K ————-  11.2K ———–  19.8K .                2018

Plainridge (MA) ——————–  57K ————–  1.7K ————– 1.5K .                 2015

Hollywood Bangor (ME) ——–   31K ————–  750 —————  919 .                  2005

Oxford (ME) ————————-  23K ————–  966 —————  305 .                  2012

CONCLUSIONS

  1. The Maine casinos need lagging. Hollywood has some ” ‘splainin to do!”  The third oldest and smallest casino still lags in social marketing.  Oxford, while a little better, still not a lot to call home about.
  2. MGM Springfield is doing well in its first year.  But EncoreBH, with only a few months, is already challenging the industry giant MGM.
  3. Already, EncoreBH is third on Instagram.  It’s approaching the tribes in Connecticut on Instagram.  It certainly helps to have a new, beautiful property for gorgeous picture taking. It will take time to reach FW & MS in the other two categories, but it’s already rivaling MGM’s numbers.
  4. What is Twin River doing?  MGM has at the present time has reached or surpassed TW’s numbers. For a casino that is larger and older by 11 years, either MGM is doing something right, or . Twin River needs to re-assess it marketing.  BTW, NETG votes both Ocean State casino websites as the worst in New England.
  5. Tiverton is small and new,  and yet is closing in on Oxford numbers with a difference of 7 years.  Hmm…………

So, there is a different take on casino comparison. it is just another tool for New England’s gamblers to use and for the casinos to use for their future to social media.

Special Thanks to Miguel for the brains behind this one.  You can follow him on Twitter @NECasinoMiguel