More than $1.1 billion gambled at Oxford, Hollywood casinos in 2013

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In its first full year, customers gambled $677 million at Oxford Casino slot machines, walked away with $619 million in wins and left close to $30 million behind for the house, after taxes.

The figures were released Friday in the Maine Gambling Control Board’s 2013 annual report.

Bangor’s Hollywood Casino, meanwhile, saw customers gamble $469 million at its slot machines, $100 million less than the year before. It paid out $422 million.

“We get daily numbers, so we had been watching the trend,” said Patrick Fleming, the board’s executive director. “When Hollywood was the only facility in the state, everyone went there.”

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There was a “honeymoon period” last year with players checking out the newer Oxford Casino, he said. “We’re kind of expecting that Bangor will now plateau. Oxford went through two expansions in that first year, so we’re kind of getting them to, I think, the size they’re going to remain for a while.”

As of January, Oxford had 858 slot machines and 26 table games; Hollywood had 888 slot machines and 16 table games.

The Gambling Control Board has an inspector on site at both Oxford and Hollywood whenever they’re open. Fleming said he’s been generally pleased with both operations.

“The casino industry is a really highly regulated industry,” he said. “If they were to have an adverse issue up here in Maine, it effects their licenses everywhere, so the people in the industry are really cognizant of that. They’re very aware of the rules and they follow them as closely as possible.”

It cost nearly $2 million to run the Gambling Control Board this year, more than half of that in staff with two state police detectives, one inspector supervisor, nine civilian inspectors, two internal auditors, one specialist and an assistant.

This winter, the Maine Legislature is weighing whether to approve up to three more casinos and one new slot facility in the state.

kskelton@sunjournal.com

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