BANGOR, Maine — Maine’s two casinos support nearly 1,500 jobs in the state, pay about $83 million in taxes, and last year had a total economic impact of $227 million, according to a study released by the American Gaming Association on Thursday.
“This research reveals a vast industry that boosts local communities across Maine by supporting jobs and generating customers for businesses,” Adam Sacks, director of Oxford Economics, said in a news release.
Oxford Economics, a global economic analysis organization that was formed at Oxford University’s business college in the 1980s, conducted the study. The American Gaming Association commissioned it. The analysis looked at data from all 23 states with commercial casino operations.
Oxford Economics looked at employment and revenue data from Maine’s two commercial casinos, but it did not include gaming not tied to casinos, such as the lottery or horse racing.
“I think this is something we’ve always known, but it’s nice to see it in a third-party report,” said John Gibboni, director of finance for Hollywood Casino.
Hollywood Casino and Oxford Casino both file monthly revenue reports with the state. In 2013, the year covered in the report and the first full year in which both casinos operated, Hollywood Casino brought in net revenue of about $54.7 million and Oxford drew $72.6 million.
The study’s $227 million economic impact figure includes casino revenue, patron spending at restaurants and shops inside the casinos, off-site spending during casino visits, as well as indirect economic impact resulting from increased demand on suppliers and increased activity at other area businesses.
Hollywood Casino and Oxford Casino each employ a little more than 400 employees. Aside from the 811 people employed directly by the casinos, the study credits the casinos for creating 319 indirect jobs — jobs outside the casino that support casino operations, such as suppliers and contractors — as well as 328 induced jobs — jobs created because of the economic impact of the casinos, for example, casino employees spend money at other area businesses, allowing those businesses to create jobs.
Gibboni said those indirect effects are an interesting addition to what the casino already knows about its affect on the local economy. Officials from Oxford Casino did not immediately respond to messages requesting comment Thursday.
If the casinos went away, the study estimates that Maine’s unemployment rate would rise from about 5.8 percent to 6.4 percent.
Both casinos pay a certain percentage of their revenue to more than a dozen municipal, county, state and federal agencies and funds.
Revenue from Hollywood Casino was used to finance a portion of the construction and debt costs of Bangor’s new arena and convention center, the Cross Insurance Center. Some municipal officials have credited the casino with playing a vital role in the city’s recent growth spurt.
Oxford County sees about $625,000 per year from its share of Oxford Casino’s tax payments. That’s used to reduce the county tax levy by about 10 percent, according to Oxford County administrator Scott Cole.
“It’s provided some optimism to the area in terms of not just what’s happening, but what may come to pass,” Cole said Thursday. Municipal and county officials there hope that if the casino continues to perform well, it will prompt a hotel development, bringing more jobs and tax revenue to an area that has been strapped for both.
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