OXFORD — Oxford Casino has a new owner.
Louisville, Ky.,-based Churchill Downs Inc. announced Wednesday it has completed its purchase of the Route 26 casino, worth about $160 million.
The announcement followed Tuesday's meeting of the five-member Maine Gambling Control Board, which voted unanimously to approve the transfer of the license to the new owners.
“We are extremely pleased to complete this transaction earlier than anticipated and appreciate the timely action of the Maine Gambling Control Board, who made this possible,” Chairman and CEO Bob Evans said. “CDI welcomes the employees at Oxford to the CDI family.”
The casino, Maine's second, has made a lot of money since it opened 13 months ago.
In its first six months of this year, it saw more than $28 million in net revenue, according to state records. In June alone, it made $5 million.
The sale was first announced in March.
It is expected to be a windfall for investors, including developer Bob Bahre and his son, Gary, of Alton, N.H., who had a 30 percent share of the casino.
Other owners included Rob Lally, a real estate investor and Mt. Abram Ski area co-owner; Steve Barber, former president and CEO of Barber Foods in Portland, and his wife; James Boldebook, who owns an advertising agency in Biddeford; and Suzanne and Rupert Grover, who own a company in Norway, according to Black Bear's business application to the Maine Gambling Control Board. They owned 45 percent
The remaining 25 percent share was sold to New York investment house Och-Ziff Real Estate Advisors.
Churchill Downs Inc. reportedly paid cash for the casino.
The company owns Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby, and operates racetracks and casino resorts in several other locations, including Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Illinois.
Tuesday's decision by the Maine Gambling Control Board follows months of analysis by the state.
"We had to investigate the key Churchill people," said Janine Collins. "Our detectives went to Kentucky last month and interviewed the keys. That was the final step to make sure they met suitability."
"All of the keys had to have a personal and a financial suitability," she said. Executives had to show means to support the business and a track record of responsibility.
Currently, Oxford Casino has 790 slot machines, 22 table games and a 140-seat restaurant.
In June, Oxford developer Joe Casalinova announced plans to build a four-story hotel with between 80 and 120 rooms, meeting and conference space and a family-style restaurant directly across Route 26 from the casino.