Players bet, on average, more than $831,000 per slot machine at Oxford Casino in 2015, according to a new state report — up $50,000 from the year before.

That casino continued to grow, while Hollywood Casino in Bangor continued its slow slide.

Rodney Smith, Oxford’s interim town manager, said that growth is being felt all over, outside the casino’s walls.

“There’s some things in the works, but nothing that wants to be let out of the bag yet,” Smith said Thursday. “It brings a lot of people through town; it gives more business to other small businesses.”

And the $1.5 million the casino gave to the town in 2015 in a tax split outlined by statute?

“There’s always places to put it,” he said. 


More than $710 million was wagered on Oxford Casino’s slots — up $48 million from 2014 — and more than $431 million on Hollywood Casino’s slots, which was down $28 million, according to the annual report of the Maine Gambling Control Board.

Oxford Casino closed the year with 854 machines; Hollywood, 787.

After paying players in jackpots and credits, Oxford Casino counted $62 million in net slot revenue; Hollywood, $44 million.

Oxford Casino took in an additional $14 million in net table game revenue; Hollywood, nearly $9 million.

The two combined paid more than $52 million in gaming taxes. Among the big winners were:

• Maine Department of Education, $16.9 million;


• Harness racing purses, $4.6 million; and

• Healthy Maine Fund, $3.9 million.

Tim Doyle, chairman of the Maine Gambling Control Board, said it was a business-as-usual year with no issues with compliance at either facility.

Board staff worked with more than 800 employees and prospective workers on annual licenses and background checks.

Oxford Casino has 400 employees, according to a spokeswoman, “and we’re always recruiting.”

Todd Gabe, a University of Maine economist who in 2010 researched the economic impact of the then-proposed Oxford Casino, said he wasn’t surprised to see $1.14 billion gambled at the two casinos last year.


His work was based on Oxford having 1,500 slot machines — part of the originally pitched full-on resort experience — and he had forecast it could bring in even more gaming revenue.

“A lot of money goes through casinos anywhere,” Gabe said. “The experience in Bangor was when they increased the size of their facility and actually had a hotel, it was a substantial impact on the amount of gaming.”

He said he expects the same thing to happen when Hampton Inn opens across the street from the Oxford Casino this summer.

Hollywood Casino moved into its new hotel and casino space in July 2008 after having had temporary quarters with just a casino across the street for several years. From 2008 to 2009, figures jumped from $626 million gambled there to $691 million.

Oxford Casino has continually bitten into Hollywood Casino’s bottom line since opening in June 2012.

Patrick Casalinova, with Keller Williams Commercial, said Thursday that he’s close to closing a deal for a restaurant to be located near the casino. People behind that project and others have concerns about LD 1280, a bill in the Legislature that would open the door to another casino in southern Maine.

“It’s definitely casting a big shadow,” he said.

On Wednesday, the Maine House voted to kill that bill, and on Thursday, the Senate voted to table it, leaving its fate uncertain, according to a legislative staffer. 

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