BANGOR, Maine — Coming out of 2014 with a slight drop in net revenue, Hollywood Casino tried a 10-day experiment in which it kept its doors open around the clock.
The test run didn’t yield the results casino officials hoped for, so the gambling facility has returned to its normal 19-hour day.
“The biggest takeaway from our 24-hour experiment was that customers in Eastern Maine are content with our existing hours of 8 a.m.-3 a.m. daily at Hollywood Casino,” casino General Manager Jose Flores said in an email earlier this week. “Those who did come during the late-night hours we are not normally open had a great time, but the vast majority of our customers visit during our normal operating hours.”
The trial run stretched from the day after Christmas through Jan. 3.
Flores declined to say how many patrons the casino saw during those off-hours, or how much the casino brought in between the hours of 3 a.m. and 8 a.m. compared to normal hours of operation.
Hollywood Casino’s main competition, Oxford Casino, which is about a two-hour drive south on Interstate 95, has been a 24-hour operation since it opened for business in the summer of 2012.
Hollywood “won’t close the door” on trying this experiment again, Flores said, but, he added, customers should expect to see normal hours of operation “for the foreseeable future.”
2014 wasn’t a banner year for Maine’s casinos, but it was steady.
Hollywood Casino brought in $54.44 million in net revenue in 2014, $46.4 million at the slots and just over $8 million at the tables. That net revenue total is down slightly — $220,000 — from 2013’s take.
“I think that indicates a bit more stability in the gaming industry in Maine,” Flores said. “We’ve had table games for a couple years now and we’ve had competition for a couple years.”
Maine casinos are required by statute to pay out a portion of their revenues to beneficiaries ranging from the Gambling Control Board and veterans causes to the harness racing industry and their host municipalities. Hollywood redistributed more than $22.4 million of its revenue in 2014, including about $579,000 to the City of Bangor.
Hollywood Casino saw its best performance in 2012, bringing in about $62.7 million. That was in spite of the fact that Oxford Casino opened halfway through 2012. Hollywood Casino’s introduction of table games in March 2012 helped overcome the dent Oxford put in Hollywood’s slot machine traffic.
Oxford Casino, which has more table games and is an around-the-clock operation, brought in about $72.83 million in net revenue in 2014. That was up from about $71.61 million in net revenue in 2013 — the casino’s first full year of operation.
It redistributed about $29 million of revenues, the largest chunk going to the Department of Education to fund K-12 essential programs and services.
There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the future of the gaming industry in the Northeast. Any New England casino developments — including several proposed in New Hampshire and Massachusetts — are likely to have an effect on Maine casinos, especially Oxford because it draws a higher proportion of its patronage from Southern Maine and other New England states.
State legislators also have expressed great interest in a study released last year that claimed Maine could be home to one, or possibly, two more casinos, depending on size and location.
The concept has existing Maine casinos worried about “cannibalization” in the industry if more gaming comes to the state.
Flores said he believes Bangor’s growth will help his casino’s success in the future. Attractions like the American Folk Festival, Waterfront Concerts and Cross Insurance Center, last weekend’s SnoCross event, and the Katahdin region will continue to draw people to the casino.
“Bangor is a destination, and we are excited to continue to be a part of what brings people to this area,” Flores said.
Follow Nick McCrea on Twitter @nmccrea213.