AUGUSTA, Maine — Say goodbye to Hollywood Slots Hotel and Raceway.
“Now that we are a complete casino with simulcast wagering, slots and harness racing, we decided to rename ourselves to Hollywood Casino Bangor,” said John Osborne, general manager of Hollywood Slots. “The change will take effect the first quarter of next year.”
Just six days after voters gave strong approval to the addition of table games at the Main Street gambling facility, action already has been taken as both Hollywood Slots personnel and state officials ready for a projected May 1, 2012, games debut.
“We’re working with the Maine Gambling Control Board to get things done as quickly as possible,” said Osborne. “We’re hoping for early spring, but May 1st is our target.”
On Tuesday, the four members of the Gambling Control Board met with executive director Patrick Fleming and Osborne at a public hearing to discuss implementation, regulation and supervision of the the 14 table games which will be added in Bangor.
“We still have to get the regulatory structure in place and that’s some of the stuff we did do today,” said Fleming.
Board members discussed four proposals and approved two of them Tuesday. The first requires Hollywood to post the rules of every game for players in a readily accessible and visible way.
“The other involved table games rules of play, which essentially means each game has to have rules and the casinos have to run them by the board for approval before they go into play,” Fleming said.
Osborne said the plan calls for adding one roulette table, six blackjack games, one dice table, a three-card poker table, four Texas Hold ’Em games and one Let It Ride card game.
As far as monitoring and regulation of the games, slot machines are monitored both on site by Hollywood Slots and remotely in real time through a direct connection to a state computer facility in Gardiner.
Other options include human on-site monitoring as well as scheduled and/or random audits and inspections.
“I think it’s going to be all three,” Fleming said. “We have the central site monitoring for slots, which we’ll also use for the Oxford casino. But the public will want people there representing the state in Bangor, so that’ll be part of it, but we’ll also likely have human inspection and auditing.”
Hollywood Slots also has a few other things to do and line up, including filing an application with the board to operate table games. Since it just was approved for slots as part of the annual review and licensing process, that process should be expedited as most of the information required would be the same for the table games application.
But there are plenty of other things to check off on the list.
“We have to line up our suppliers and distributors for cards, chips and other materials,” said Osborne. “Another thing is we have to develop our internal controls for games and their transactions as they affect other departments. We’re also still looking at the training process to come up with a long-term system.”
Osborne confirmed Hollywood Slots has had preliminary discussions with Eastern Maine Community College about a training program for card dealers and table games operations as part of the school’s existing hospitality program.
“They’d like to create a gaming component. It could create a real advantage for EMCC,” Osborne said. “Outside of Nevada and Texas, I’m unaware of any other states that offer gaming emphasis programs. It would be great for the region and all the casinos in the Northeast.”
Under current Maine law, it’s illegal to place tables — even for training only — at a nonlicensed location.
“But that is something that could be changed,” said Osborne.