Gambling board gives provisional approval to Oxford Casino expansion

A view from inside the Oxford Casino taken in June 2012 at a news event held before the casino opened.
Russ Dillingham | Sun Journal
A view from inside the Oxford Casino taken in June 2012 at a news event held before the casino opened.
Posted Sept. 18, 2012, at 6:47 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — An expansion to the Oxford Casino will hold a sneak peek opening Friday. At Tuesday’s meeting of the Gambling Control Board, casino General Manager Jack Sours told the board the expansion would open at 5 p.m. Friday.

He said the table games would take a bit longer and probably wouldn’t be up and running for about three weeks after the initial opening.

The Gambling Control Board unanimously approved security for the expansion that will add hundreds more slot machines and 10 more table games.

Board Chairman Timothy Doyle said the casino needed approval only for changes to its surveillance plan. The statute allowing the casino says the casino can have up to 1,500 slot machines and 50 table games. The casino currently has more than 500 slot machines; the expansion will add “hundreds” more, casino spokesman Scott Smith said.

Doyle said the board has to examine any changes to casino surveillance plans. The board must approve the placement and positions of security cameras throughout the casino. An inspector has been to the casino and has viewed the security cameras. “He felt that they had adequate coverage,” Doyle told the board.

However, he said, additional table games planned for the expansion hadn’t yet been installed, so the casino will require another inspection before opening to ensure that security cameras are sufficient for the new table games.

“The surveillance cameras have not been tested or not been looked at by our inspector for that particular portion,” he said.

Doyle said that before the casino’s opening in June, the board gave the same tentative approval, with the provision that a state inspector must look at the surveillance plans before the opening. He told the board they would be going by the inspector’s expertise, anyway.

“Essentially, you’re looking at a piece of paper with some dots on it that show you where the cameras are,” Doyle said.

The board gave provisional approval for the expansion, as long as the state’s inspector approves the camera positions for the slot machines before the expansion’s opening.

The expansion will add office and warehouse space, in addition to expanding the gaming floor.

The board also approved two new table games for the Oxford Casino. After a demonstration of both games by Priscilla Wood, a table-gaming supervisor at the casino, the board unanimously voted to allow the casino to run mini baccarat and Mississippi stud table games, in addition to current games of blackjack, poker, craps and roulette.

In July, a Superior Court justice nullified the casino’s development permit from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. The DEP and the Gambling Control Board elected to let the casino remain open while the DEP reprocesses the development permit.

In the meantime, according to DEP Spokeswoman Samantha DePoy-Warren, there are weekly third-party inspections of the site and all inspector reports indicate that the site remains stable and continues to be in compliance with state environmental regulations.

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