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July 9, 2020

Maine casinos reopen this week — with limitations

Courtesy / Neokraft Oxford Casino is one of two casinos in Maine, along with Hollywood Casino in Bangor.

Maine’s two casinos got approval from the Mills administration to reopen, although both will have limits on the number of customers allowed in. 

Oxford Casino, which reopened this morning, said it will be limited to 200 customers at a given time, and will require employees and customers to wear masks and observe social distancing protocols. Oxford's hotel, as well as features including table games, will remain closed. 

Hollywood Casino in Bangor will reopen Friday at noon.

“We are happy to have received approval from local, state, and regulatory authorities so that we could get our Team Members back to work and welcome guests back to Oxford Casino,” Jack Sours, vice president and general manager of Oxford Casino said in a press release Thursday.

“Cleanliness and safety have always made up the foundation of our culture, and are of the utmost importance — now more than ever," he added. "All of our reopening team has undergone testing for COVID-19 to ensure as safe of an environment as possible. We understand the hardships our Team Members have faced due to this pandemic, and we are grateful for our team’s commitment to both our company and our guests during these uncertain times.”

Oxford will allow 200 people in the casino at one time, or 50 in four designated zones.

It will not reopen its hotel, event center, table games or three dining areas — Ox Pub, Oxford Grill, and Oxford Express. The casino said it planned to reopen the amenities “at a later date.”

In addition to reduced occupancy, Oxford said it will frequently sanitize “high touch surfaces,” including door handles and slot machines. 

All employees and customers must wear masks and must undergo temperature checks. They’ll also ask customers for ID and phone numbers for contact tracking. Social distancing measures will also be in place. 

Oxford Downs, which opened in June 2012, is owned by Churchill Downs Inc. (Nasdaq: CHDN), which is based in Louisville and owns racetracks and casinos.

Hollywood Casino plan

Hollywood Casino, which will open on Friday at noon, will be closed at midnight each night for deep cleaning and sanitation, the casino said.

Masks will be required for entry. It also said it will limit customer numbers on the gaming floor and limit the number of slot machines, but didn’t offer specifics. Poker tables will be closed.

It will not open table games.Neither live racing or simulcast will be reopening at this time.

In contrast to Oxford Casino, Hollywood plans to reopen its 148-room hotel, though the fitness area will not reopen.

Hollywood Casino, which opened in 2005, is owned by Penn National Gaming Inc. (Nasdaq: PENN), which is based in Wyomissing, Pa., and has 43 gaming sites in the U.S. and Canada.

The casinos generate significant tax revenue that helps fund K-12 education, the University of Maine System, the Maine Maritime Academy and the community college system, among other things. 

Last year, Oxford Casino paid $38.2 million in state tax, while Hollywood Casino paid $14.6 million in state tax, according to state gaming regulators. 

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