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

 

 

Massachusetts More Worried, Not Mohegan Sun, About New England’s Casino Share

Massachusetts

Massachusetts Casino Industry Worried?

After chatting with friends and colleagues recently in Las Vegas concerning their thoughts on Massachusetts’ Gaming Expansion, it seemed to be unanimous – Massachusetts is doing it their way, but not necessarily the best way.  They are running a little scared lately, but are too stubborn to show it. It includes badgering Steve Wynn, making Rush Gaming Developers wait for a Region C decision, and letting MGM

MGM Springfield

New rendering of MGM Springfield’s cut down proposal.

change this and that without approval. It seems the Bay State’s opinion of Mohegan Sun Resorts follows the same narrow-minded spin.

Bruce Mohl, from Commonwealth Magazine, recently reported in his article “Casino Border Wars” that Mohegan Sun as an underachiever not good enough for Massachusetts.  With the history Mass casinos so far, they would have been so lucky to have Mohegan Sun part of that gambling Plan.

His reasons for such a poor opinion of the Mohegan Tribe’s casinos?  Well, let’s take a look:

  1. A key reason for the casino’s success was the large number of customers pouring over the border from Massachusetts. That’s True. But let’s include Maine, NH, Vermont, Rhode Island, NY, and NJ (which took a bite out of Atlantic City).  It’s because both Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun are “Destinations,” unlike Plainridge Park Casino (a box of slots – MGM’s own description) and the proposal in Brockton which represents a mid-level locals casino in Nevada.
  2. Not welcome in Palmer.
    Mohegan Palmer Casino

    Mohegan Sun’s rendition of Mohegan Palmer Casino

    Palmer Mohegan Sun applied for the Region A (Western) license of 150 acres of land purchased in Palmer – land that was waste-free (Everett) and didn’t entail bulldozing blocks of historical buildings (MGM in Springfield) and was closer to the newest threat to western Massachusetts. The bid was rejected by 94 votes out of over 5200. Why? It would “destroy the rural character of a town.” So, instead, they mirror the state’s poverty level of 11% and added a Motor Speedway.  Go figure.

  3. Not Welcome in Revere. Mohegan Sun joined forces with Suffolk Downs in Revere in a bid to win the eastern Massachusetts casino license, however, Wynn Resorts was chosen to build a casino in Everett. Wynn was great in winning over the Gaming Commission, by criticizing the Revere proposal as Mohegan Sun’s pursuit was “to protect its flagship casino in Connecticut.”
    mohegan-sun-revere-casino-rendering-7414f532fa69586d

    Rendition of Mohegan Sun at Suffolk Downs in Revere

    The MGC believed it, even though the Mohegan Tribe has made Resorts Casino in AC a winner and it’s Mohegan Sun Pocono in Pennsylvania continues to be a success.

  4. Protecting It’s Own Casino Interests. Mr. Mohl and the rest of Massachusetts thinks it’s awful that Mohegan would expand to other areas to protect its assets. But, he just doesn’t get it.  MGM & Wynn expanded outside of Las Vegas, and they did it to expand their brand. MGM is looking at Georgia for an additional site, and both are in China. Expanding their brand.  Penn National expanded to Plainville after already owning Hollywood Hotel Casino in Bangor, Maine.  They now own two New England casinos, yet nothing was said about Plainridge Park protecting it’s Hollywood Casino.  The Mohegan Tribe, much like Penn, MGM, Wynn, Caesars’, etc have the right to expand.  If you’re successful in the casino industry, that’s what you do.

Mohl’s bottom line, and I quote, “What all this maneuvering tells you is that Mohegan Sun — and the state of Connecticut — are very worried about the impact of Massachusetts casinos on the casino businesses in Connecticut and willing to do just about anything to blunt their impact.”

If something doesn’t scare you, or threaten you, ignore it? But if it is a concern, pay a lot of attention to it – and that’s just what Massachusetts is doing.  CT knows that more casinos in New England will impact their two large destination casinos, so they are doing something about it.  But Massachusetts continues to look south to CT and south-east to Rhode Island as both states make plans to battle or New England’s gamblers.

Rendition Wampanoag Casino in Taunton

Rendition Wampanoag Casino in Taunton

Plainridge Park Casino

Plainridge Park Casino in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is the state most worried about it’s share of the pie.  MGM wouldn’t be trying to stall CT’s third casino and the MGC wouldn’t be considering no Region C license due to the Wampanoag’s casino proposal gaining momentum if they weren’t. Plainridge Park has seen two straight months of decline – a sudden concern – and Twin River & the CT casinos have seen positive revenue in recent months.  MGM says it’s not worried, but continues to cut back its approved proposal in Springfield, and both MGM & Wynn won’t be making money for the Bay State until late 2018.

So who’s doing the most maneuvering and who is the most worried?

I say Massachusetts.

That’s all for now.

 

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