The Oxford Casino in Oxford continued to outperform Hollywood Casino in Bangor, increasing its take of the $1.2 billion wagered in slot machines last year, according to the Maine Gambling Control Board’s annual report.

Slot machines at Oxford Casino raked in $796.6 million in 2017, up $62 million from the year before, the board said. The Hollywood Casino’s slots took in $408.4 million, down $28 million from 2016. The Oxford Casino earned $68.7 million overall, while Hollywood Casino earned a $41.6 million profit in 2017.

Both casinos appeared to have entered 2018 with different strategies: Oxford added 97 slot machines and Bangor unplugged 39.

With the recent completion of its 107-room, $25 million hotel, the Oxford Casino also added 3,000 additional square feet of casino space, spokeswoman Jane McClay Hoyt said.

“Oxford Casino Hotel’s parent company, Churchill Downs Inc., is very happy with their investment in Maine and the Oxford community,” Hoyt said. “Oxford Casino experienced exceptional growth since opening, and making the additional capital investment into our slot products was an easy decision, given growing demand.”

The industry trend, she said, is toward lower denomination games, so Oxford added new penny games.

The Oxford Casino started 2017 with 871 machines and now has 968. The Bangor casino had between 765 and 778 machines, and is currently at 729.

A call to Hollywood Casino wasn’t returned Thursday.

Between wagers on slots and the less popular table games, the state collected $54.5 million in gaming taxes from both casinos to distribute to more than a dozen groups, outlined by statute.

The Department of Education received the most, $18.9 million for grades K-12 schools, last year. Another $6.4 million went into the state’s General Fund, $3.3 million to the University of Maine System and $4.4 million to harness racing purses.

Oxford Town Manager Butch Asselin said that the town’s $1.7 million from the casino distribution helps offset its $5 million to $6 million budget.

He said the community and casino have continued to have a good working relationship.

“We regard them as an asset to the town,” Asselin said.

The Maine Department of Public Safety’s Gambling Control Unit implemented a process of formally documenting and investigating patron complaints at the casinos last year.

Last year, they received 10 complaints. So far this year, four.

“Most of the time, it’s really a misunderstanding of the rules of the game or a particular slot machine, how it pays out,” said Milton Champion, the gambling control unit’s executive director. “I would say 9.9 out of 10 cases are always resolved.”

He said his unit is at work on a regional self-exclusion program with several other states that’s still being finalized.

In 2017, 117 people flagged themselves for self-exclusion, banning themselves from entering casinos here.

On the slate for Champion’s unit this summer: Shaping rules and regulations around fantasy sports contests in Maine.

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