OXFORD — A year and a half after opening its doors, Oxford Casino is going strong, with net revenues exceeding $61.7 million so far in 2013.

The casino’s net revenue from slot machine operation, more than $50,596,000 as of the end of October, is subject to a hefty 46 percent tax from the state.

Revenue from table games, accounting for nearly $11,121,000 so far this year, is also subjected to a 16 percent state tax. 

That tax revenue is divided into different accounts for Maine’s primary and secondary education, tribal governments, agricultural fairs and harness racing, as well as money for the host town and county.

The town of Oxford, as the host municipality, receives a 2 percent cut from the table game and slot machine revenues, pulling in an average $28,000 a week or $1,496,000 a year, according to Town Manager Michael Chammings. 

With its windfall, the town has been able to keep its taxes low, invest in replacement vehicles for its municipal fleet and rebuild a healthy fund balance, Chammings said. 


The town used about $600,000 to offset property taxes and keep a flat tax rate for 2013, a year when the town faced declines in state revenue sharing and increases in education costs.

“We were very lucky. We were one of the few towns that were actually able to flatten the mill rate,” Chammings said.

The Oxford Board of Selectmen have designated part of the town’s fund balance to keep a stable mill rate over the past five years, which has depleted the town’s cash reserves, Chammings explained.

“We were very financially stable five years ago,” Chammings said. “That’s why we went to it, without having to raise taxes or lay people off or cut services.”

A portion of casino revenue is being used to help rebuild that balance until the town has the equivalent of 12 percent of its annual budget in on-hand cash, conforming to standards outlined by the Government Accounting Standards Board. Another portion is being used to replace town vehicles on a depreciation schedule, Chammings said.

If the town’s projections stay on track, Chammings expects to be able to lower the town’s property tax rate slightly next year. The rate stands at $12.25 per $1,000 in property value.


The Oxford County Commission is also devoting a significant amount of its cut from the casino to offset property taxes. The county receives almost $14,000 a week in revenue from the casino, about $720,000 per year. 

Commissioners allocated $360,000 to offset the tax rate in the 2013 budget. This year, the amount was increased to $460,000, helping to drop the tax levy to its smallest level since 2011. 

County Administrator Scott Cole said the casino revenue would be primarily used for tax relief, but anticipated that some would be devoted to funding a long-term capital improvement project for county buildings and grounds. 

“Everyone’s recognized the need to really nail down a facilities capital rehab plan,” Cole said. “We have not prioritized the projects in any meaningful sense, but I think once that happens there will be a tie-back to the casino funds.”

Last year, commissioners and the county Budget Committee approved using $275,000 in casino revenue to buy 10 new cruisers for the Sheriff’s Office, with the understanding that the money would be repaid to the general fund in three annual payments. 

At its meeting earlier this month, however, the Budget Committee voted to forgive this year’s $91,666 payment to the general fund and 2013’s payment is also expected to be forgiven, essentially making the cruiser deal a direct purchase.


According to Cole, the purchase was a one-time event and county commissioners do not intend to use the casino revenue as a slush fund for the Sheriff’s Office or other departments. 

“I think last year that was the first time the money was available, and it happened to coincide with the need to replace worn-out vehicles,” Cole said.

“Moving forward, there will be no special relationship between the casino money and the Sheriff’s Office.”

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