As The Casino Dust Settles in New England, What’s Next For NETG

It’s Friday. It’s the end of a whirl wind time in New England’s casino landscape that we see the effects of and evaluate in the next year. We will also be watching the rise of not one, but possibly two more casinos by 2020. Encore Boston Harbor is  next in line, with concerns surrounding it as the iconic Encore Hotel rises in Everett, Massachusetts. The stalled MMCT Mohegan / Mashantucket Pequot joint casino on the CT/MA border is still in play. And rumors about a new Bridgeport CT casino and the Mashpee Wampanoag casino in Taunton, MA (on life support) continue to surface.

Artist’s rendering of the proposed MGM Bridgeport casino,  (Image: MGM Resorts International)

While the dust settles, NETimeGambling would like to thank all our new subscribers, as well as all those who have supported us for the last 5 years, especially Michael Targer at TravelZork, and Cousin Vito at Cousin Vito’s Casino Podcast. We have many friends listed in our sidebar consisting of the best casino podcasts and gambling resources available.

What’s next for NETG? Well, I hope you listen in to Cousin Vito’s podcast this week. I will be chatting with Vito about our Foxwoods get-together and MGM Springfield. Next week, I will be chatting with Michael Trager on ZorkCast, TravelZork’s short weekly podcast. We will be talking about, what else, MGM Springfield!

In the next few days, we are taking a break to update our menu pages, links and archives to represent the casino changes in New England this summer.

Looking forward, we will publish our monthly post of news, promotions and entertainment, now including MGM Springfield, and our weekly Monday Link while we clean up and update.

Meanwhile, enjoy our content, click on our links, and remember to gamble responsibly.

When it comes to gambling, embrace the math – not the myths.

Thanks all.

Binbin

Maine Casino Trip Report Part 1 – Oxford Hotel & Casino

New Oxford Hotel next to the Casino.

A trip to visit the two Maine casinos is usually accompanied by good food, great beer and a lot of driving. Oh yes…..there was gambling, too. Day 1 was the Oxford Casino & Hotel

We first drove to Oxford Hotel & Casino in Oxford, Maine. The Oxford Casino, owned and operated by Churchill Downs Inc., has 848 slot machines and 22 table games. and opened on June 5, 2012. It has recently gone through the addition of a connecting Hotel, and a new pub dining experience, with rotating beer taps and great craft beer from the Maine.  After a five hour drive, this was our first stop. But first, check-in….

Hotel

Basic Room at Hotel Oxford

Checking was smooth and quick with friendly service. Small lobby desk, but seems to serve them well. Our room was beautiful, with electrical plugs everywhere. Within 5 minutes from getting to our room, we received a call from the front desk asking if everything was as expected, wishing us a great stay – nice touch! Amenities include refrigerator, safe, and Keureg coffee maker in a spacious enough room. The large shower had shampoo & body soap in containers attached to the wall.  It was a delightful place to stay.

The Ox Pub

Good food and great beer.  The new Ox Pub is a terrific addition.  Before the expansion, this little casino just stood alone out in the Maine woods of Oxford, with two food options.  But the Hotel, expanded parking, and this Ox Pub seems to round the casino experience.  Our beer selections were the Simplicity Orange Maple Wheat from Warren, ME and ironically the Black Hog Granola Brown Ale from Oxford, (wait for it) CT!  We both ordered, what else, but the Maine Lobster role with over a pound of lobster, Cole slaw  and fries -highly recommended.Great service. They also are known for their Bourbon selection as well as the Maine craft brews.

Now we were ready to survey the casino area, which is very nicely hid from the dining options.

The Expanded Casino Area

It was a Saturday night – should I say more?  The casino wasn’t that big in the first place, and although it’s been expanded, it was packed with people. As Bert said, “When you’re the only game in town for miles and miles around, it’s going to be a weekend draw.” The only downside to this slot laden casino on a busy night is that there are no empty machines. Even the video poker, which would total about 30 single line Game Makers were full – even with the terrible pay tables offered.

Saturday’s promotion also contributed to the number of people there. The Super 6 was every hour from 3-8PM (tailored to a mostly over 50 clientele) with both of us winning at least $2 each hour in the drawing of 6 numbers out of 20.  East guest picked their own numbers.  After the promo was done, the crowd thinned, and there were more opportunities to play.

With no night club, bowling alley, DJ, or entertainment venue (not even a little lounge act) this is not the place that caters to a younger crowd.  The race to get millennials inside is really lost ob the owner Churchill Downs, Inc.  But, it is not being missed either.

Gambling

Inside Oxford Casino, Oxford Maine

  • Slots – many older slots mixed in with some of the latest.  Not a lot of tall new tall cabinet machines, but would be out of place here.
  • Video Poker – 7/5 JOB, 8/5 DDB at $1 level;  – should I say more?
  • Craps – $15 minimum on a Saturday night. Two tables.
  • Blackjack – 3/2 pays, dealer hits on soft 17, 6 deck shoes.  Some with Progressive Blazing 7’s side bet.  $15 minimum on weekends, most $25.  Morning had a special $3 BJ table!
  • Other table games included were Roulette, Ultimate Texas Holdem, 3 Card Poker, Spanish 21, Mississippi Stud Poker, and Mini-Baccarat (which didn’t seem very popular.)
  • There is a high limit room, big enough for a craps table, blackjack table and one more not recognized.

REWARDS CLUB

Video Poker Player’s Club
  • $1 Coin-In = 1 Point
  • Free Play or Comps: 500 Points = $1 (0.20%)
  • I would assume slots would earn more points for $1 in, but no way of getting this info at this time

Breakfast Buffet

The breakfast buffet in the Oxford Grille, 2 of the three dining options, is very good.  Brunch at the Ritz it’s not, but everything was delicious and we would thoroughly recommend this if staying at the hotel. The set-up is well done with a number of the usual breakfast stations, an omelet station, and a waffle station. At $12, this is a bargain.   

THE DRAW

The expansion is outstanding, the hotel we loved, and the service is great, even though the next closest casino is 120 miles away! Further expansion of the casino should be the next step for Churchill Downs, Inc. because this place is a winner in their portfolio.

Bert’s conclusion was “Service is very friendly, but they know they’re not the star of the show.  The staff at Oxford is here to serve the guest.”

Couldn’t say it better myself!

Next, it was on to Bangor with a review of the Hollywood Hotel, Casino & Raceway. see ya next post.

Binbin & Bert.

 

NETimeGambling Looks Back & Forward from 2014

“All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.” ~Ellen Glasgow

Two years ago in New England.

Four years ago in New England.

A Look Back to 2014

I was looking back at old NETimeGambling posts from 2014 & 2015. So many changes have take place in New England’s Casino Industry.  It’s hard to remember some of the proposals that failed compared to those that have materialized. A few years ago, New England was simply an area with a few casinos. Let me remind you what was happening back then:

“Connecticut Casinos are on the verge of losses beyond recovery. (Instead, by 2017, both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun have made many additions and changes, and have diversified their interests into other revenue generating areas, making their relevancy in New England stronger and ready for the New England’s casino expansion.)

”Massachusetts is still in a mess concerning it’s third full casino license in the Southeastern area.” (Eventually, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission passed the New Bedford waterfront and chose Rush Gaming’s proposal in Brockton – but when the Wampanoag tribal casino looked to generate more for the state, the southeast region license was denied to Brockton.  At this time, “First Light Resort of the Wampanoag tribe is stuck in a lawsuit with the townspeople of Taunton.)

Remember when there were two other bidders besides Penn National Gaming for the Slots-only casino? Raynham Park, a former dog-racing track; and Cordish Bros., which had proposed building a slots parlor in Leominster were the other two.

Mohegan Sun was denied not one proposal, but two – in Palmer to MGM Springfield, and Revere’s Suffolk Downs to Steve Wynn’s casino in Everett.

By the way, Mohegan Sun was Suffolk Down’s second suitor. Caesars Entertainment had to withdraw from a connection with Suffolk Downs in 2013 due to alleged ties to Russian organized crime.

A Look Forward From 2015

Southeastern New England’s expansion possibilities in 2015

In 2015, I suggested that the peak number of prospective casinos in New England (prospective, but not probable) totaled at 20! Yes I know, as Tevye from “Fiddeler on the Roof said, “crazy, no!”

Here’s what I posted in 2015. These were my insane expansion numbers of casinos in New England: (for laughs and giggles)

CONNECTICUT – 2 tribal resorts, and 3 tribal “satellite” casinos = Total of 5
RHODE ISLAND – 2 casinos, both under the name of Twin River Casino, Hotel & Resort = Total of 2
MASSACHUSETTS – 3 casino resorts, 1 slots-only parlor, 1 tribal (Wampanoags) = total of 5
NEW HAMPSHIRE – 2 casinos = (don’t count on it, although I expect it brought to legislature at least two more times in the next ten years) = Total of  2
VERMONT – yes, even Vermont has been questioning keeping its revenue in the state, since threatened by MA & NY = Total of  1
MAINE – 3 casinos, all expanded to small resorts and 2 tribal (Maliseets & Passamaquaddys) = Total of 5

Some say the Northeast is already saturated. Can you imagine if all this did come true?

Main Street, Red Rose Pizza in the far left corner. In between is Howard Street to the Cinema, Bowling, and Event area

I can’t wait to see what really happens before my eyes. And it all starts next year with MGM Springfield. Remember, “all change is not growth.”  But change is on the horizon.

Make it so!

That’s all for now.

Binbin