Bangor racino to expand promotional credit use

Posted April 08, 2010, at 8:16 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A Hollywood Slots official said Thursday that the company likely will expand the use of promotional credits to new or regular customers now that state regulators have resolved an issue surrounding the marketing tool.

Last year, the Legislature authorized the Bangor racino to begin offering promotional credits, which are coupons or credits that customers can use in slot machines. Promotional credits cannot be redeemed for cash.

Hollywood Slots has been offering credits as a way to attract additional customers. However, the Maine Gambling Control Board had raised questions about whether the monitoring system set up to track slot machine income and payouts would be able to track promotional credits electronically.

On Thursday, the board accepted a report by the board’s auditor that the credits — which are treated differently from a tax standpoint from cash used in the slot machines — could be tracked using the existing system. That would avoid having to make costly upgrades to the system.

John Osborne, general manager with Hollywood Slots, said the company likely would double or triple its use of promotional credits now that any confusion over the monitoring system has been cleared up.

Osborne said the credits would be given to some existing, regular customers as well as to attract new business from residents of southern Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Canada.

“Promotional credits, like coupons for any business, are used to draw attention to your business and to encourage people to come in,” Osborne said.

As part of its regular monthly update to board members, staff said Hollywood Slots reported a “head count” on the gaming floor of 126,919 people in March.

Bangor police responded to 17 calls during the month, six of which involved escorting people off the gaming floor because of intoxication or for other reasons. Seven of the calls to police were for incidents outside of the gaming area, including several motor vehicle accidents in the area of Main Street occupied by the racino.

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