BANGOR, Maine — Penobscot County residents approved the addition of table games to Hollywood Slots by a comfortable margin Tuesday.
With 58 of 68 precincts in Penobscot County reporting early Wednesday morning, 19,178 voters, or 61.4 percent, favored the addition of 14 table games to the 1,000-slot machine facility while 12,050 people, or 38.6 percent, voted no.
“We’re excited about the initial results and are very, very appreciative of the voters of Penobscot County and we look forward to adding the new jobs, their salary and benefits, and providing more in our revenue stream to the construction of the new Bangor Arena,” said Hollywood Slots General Manager John Osborne. “It’s very good news for us and I think that’s due in large part to the efforts of voters in Penobscot County and we can’t thank them enough for that.”
Carroll Conley, executive director of the Maine Christian Civic League, had mixed reactions.
“We’re happy with the defeat of Question 2 and Question 3, and pleasantly surprised by the the margin of defeat, but it’s kind of bittersweet because of all the gambling initiatives, the only one that passed is the one in our city,” said Conley, a longtime Bangor resident. “So it’s mixed feelings for us tonight. It’s still an expansion of gambling in the state [with table games], but three new casinos were defeated.”
Bangor residents voted yes — 5,203 votes to 2,296, or 69.4 percent to 30.6 percent — on the table games referendum.
According to Osborne, the addition of table games will create an additional 89 new local jobs, $4 million more in annual payroll salaries and benefits to workers, $1.4 million in new annual tax revenue for the state, and sustained funding for the arena and events center under construction across Main Street in Bangor.
“I think the margins [on Questions 2 and 3] speak very clearly to our legislators about our citizens’ feeling about the expansion of gambling in the state,” said Conley. “Unfortunately there are still people that are … looking toward gambling as a solution to our economic problems and I don’t think that is a solution. I don’t think it makes sense economically.”
Nationwide statistics show that table games account for only approximately 10 percent of casinos’ revenue, but they’ve also been shown to bring in an entirely new clientele, usually younger people who typically don’t play slots.
Osborne said Hollywood Slots’ plan is for the addition of 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.
Patrick Fleming, executive director of Maine’s Gambling Control Board, said a new form of regulation and monitoring will be put into place for table games.
Currently, the slots are monitored both on-site by Hollywood Slots personnel and electronically in Gardiner to compile daily reports and audits. While that will continue, that kind of instantaneous electronic monitoring is not practical for table games.
Fleming said table games will require more on-site monitoring via the 400 cameras already in place at Hollywood Slots as well as human agents watching the gaming and handling of money and performing random auditing.
To see full election results broken down by town, visit maineelections.bangordailynews.com.