Racino halts bid for new slots

Posted Dec. 16, 2009, at 11:26 a.m.
John Osborne, new Hollywood Slots manager for Bangor.
John Osborne, new Hollywood Slots manager for Bangor.

BANGOR, Maine — Hollywood Slots has withdrawn its request to offer up a new type of slot machine for its customers.

Maine’s only racino had asked the state Gambling Control Board for approval of a “hosted” slot machine, which mimics a table card game.

Bob Welch, executive director of the board, explained at the panel’s November meeting that the machines are still automated, but instead of patrons placing vouchers into the slots, a host employed by the racino does that for them.

The hosted machines can accommodate up to five players at a time, although Welch said the players would be playing against the computer, not one another.

The machine appears to be something of a bridge between traditional slot machines and table games such as poker and blackjack.

There has been a long-running discussion since Hollywood Slots opened in Bangor in 2005 about whether the facility would add traditional table games at some point. To do so would require a legislative act, and Gov. John Baldacci has indicated in the past that he would not sign any bill that expands gambling.

In the meantime, Hollywood Slots often has brought in the latest in slot machines, and Welch said that’s all the hosted machines are, although he said they have the feel of a table game.

After considerable debate during its November meeting, the board agreed to revisit the request at its December meeting after Welch and Bill Stokes of the state Attorney General’s Office had gathered more information.

It wasn’t immediately clear why Hollywood Slots withdrew its request, and General Manager John Osborne could not be reached Wednesday night.

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