PORTLAND, Maine — After the failure of various efforts to expand casino gaming in Maine, Oxford Casino owner Churchill Downs announced Friday that it plans to build a $25 million, 100-room hotel attached to the casino that opened in 2012.
The announcement puts the casino — the second to open in Maine — on track to go from having no adjacent lodging to almost 200 rooms on-site or across the street by 2017. Construction of a 93-room Hampton Inn is scheduled for completion this year.
The construction will heighten competition between Bangor’s Hollywood Casino and Oxford Casino, putting both facilities on more even footing for the number of hotel rooms on site and directly adjacent to their gaming floors.
With rooms at the casino and adjacent rooms at the Fireside Inn and Residence Inn, Hollywood Casino has a little more than one room for every three slot machines on its gaming floor. The addition of the Hampton Inn and attached hotel in Oxford will give it less than one room for every four, based on slot machine totals as of March.
The move also comes after three years in which Oxford Casino has steadily chipped away at Hollywood Casino’s share of slot machine revenue and outpaced the Penn National-owned Hollywood Casino for growth in table game revenue.
Revenue for both casinos continued to grow in the first three months of 2016, showing that the total gaming market in Maine is getting larger, though Oxford Casino is responsible for the bulk of that increase.
Oxford Casino’s net gaming revenue through March was up 14.2 percent, or $2.3 million, according to the latest figures from the Maine Gambling Control Board. By comparison, Hollywood Casino’s slot and table game revenue was up about 4.6 percent, or $554,351.
Hollywood Casino reported about $12.6 million in net gaming revenue by the end of March; Oxford Casino had about $19 million.
Both casinos fended off further competition in the state for another year, with the Legislature turning down bids from Native American tribes to open gaming facilities and the invalidation of a referendum that sought voter approval for a new casino in York County.
Churchill Downs detailed those legislative efforts in its first quarter earnings, noting that expanded gaming in the state could hurt its business.
A representative for Hollywood Casino on Monday declined to comment on the announcement from Churchill Downs.