Oxford casino nets nearly $10M in first 2 months

Posted Aug. 30, 2012, at 1:53 p.m.
Last modified Aug. 30, 2012, at 3:46 p.m.
John Morrison of Lewiston reacts as the slot machine he is playing racks up points at Oxford Casino recently.
Russ Dillingham | Sun Journal
John Morrison of Lewiston reacts as the slot machine he is playing racks up points at Oxford Casino recently.
The Oxford Casino is seen Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in Oxford. Maine's newest casino had more than $8 million in gambling winnings in its first two months of operation, which is roughly double the amount the state's first casino had in its first two months seven years ago.
Robert F. Bukaty | AP
The Oxford Casino is seen Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in Oxford. Maine's newest casino had more than $8 million in gambling winnings in its first two months of operation, which is roughly double the amount the state's first casino had in its first two months seven years ago.

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s newest casino had revenues of nearly $10 million in its first two months of operation, while revenues at the state’s other casino in Bangor have fallen since the new casino opened.

Oxford Casino opened June 5 in the western Maine town of Oxford and had net revenues — the amount lost by gamblers — of $9.8 million in June and July combined. It paid nearly $4.1 million in taxes, according to the Maine Gambling Control Board.

Those numbers are strong, and revenues from the casino’s table games are nearly double what was projected, said Clyde Barrow of the Northeast Gaming Research Project at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. In July, the casino was winning an average of $2,471 per table game per day.

“We had originally projected them to start out at about $1,300 per table per day and gradually ratchet up to $1,700,” Barrow said. “Those numbers are comparable to Atlantic City.”

Oxford Casino is planning to add 10 more table games and hundreds more slot machines in October, said spokesman Scott Smith. It now has 529 slots and 12 table games including blackjack, craps and roulette.

“We’re off to a very a good start,” Smith said.

Net revenues at Bangor’s Hollywood Casino, about 120 miles from Oxford, totaled $5.5 million in July, down from $5.9 million the same month in 2011. Hollywood Casino has 923 slot machines and 16 table games.

Some of the fall-off can be attributed to the opening of Oxford Casino, said General Manager John Osborne. This July also had fewer weekend days, the busiest days of the week, than 2011.

There’s a lot of curiosity about Oxford Casino, but it’s too soon to determine its long-term effect on the Bangor facility, he said.

“We believe long-term customers will still frequent their casino of choice, and we hope that will be Hollywood Casino in Bangor,” he said.

It would be surprising if Hollywood Casino didn’t feel any effect of the Oxford opening, Barrow said.

“That was always projected to be the case because they were going to siphon off some of the convenience gamblers in the immediate area around Oxford,” Barrow said. “For a small facility, Hollywood draws people from much further distances that would normally be the case, but that’s because people don’t have any alternatives. Once alternatives are presented to them, convenience gamblers will go to the closest facility.”

Members on the Gambling Control Board are interested in seeing the effect the Oxford facility will have on Hollywood Casino, said Patrick Fleming, executive director of the board.

“We are looking at those numbers and will be making some comparisons, but we don’t have a whole lot of data at this point,” Fleming said.

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