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Hollywood Casino GM Blames Weather For Revenue Decrease

The Hollywood Casino in Maine was supposed to be a savior for the economy when it opened as the first casino in the state. The early revenue figures backed up what many gaming analysts had predicted, that the casino would bring hundreds of millions of dollars into the state budget.

This past week, the University of Dartmouth Massachusetts issued their annual report on gaming in the Northeast, and Hollywood Casino was one of the establishments that saw revenue decrease in 2011, compared to their 2010 numbers. The drop in revenue, according to General Manager John Osbourne, was due to the weather that the state received during the year.

"We literally had over eight feet of snow in about three months," said Osbourne, "with the cold weather the snow stayed here. So it impeded people's ability to get to Hollywood Casino."

Osbourne expects that the revenue figures will rebound in 2012, and will show an increase over last year. he also predicted that the casino could continue to increase their revenue after table games were installed back in March.

"We actually saw an increase much higher than that (five percent), close to eight percent just on the slot machine side with the opening of the table games on March 16th. So we're seeing that same trend continue through April."

Table games have made a difference not only in Maine, but also in other Northeastern states. Pennsylvania installed table games last summer at their casinos, and this year Pennsylvania has surpassed New Jersey as the second largest casino gambling destination in the US.

Maine lawmakers are considering expanding their gaming industry to include additional casinos, and Massachusetts legislators finally worked out the details on a law that will bring casinos to Massachusetts for the first time in the coming years. Massachusetts hopes to have casinos open in 2013.

Hollywood Casino has been packed with customers since it opened, with gamblers no longer having to travel from Maine to New Jersey or Connecticut to enjoy casino gambling. The slots and poker tables have been so busy on weekends that there has been waiting lists for players.

"The blackjack, roulette-type games are doing about 50% better that we had forecast and poker is nearly the demand than what we had estimated based on the population in the area," said Osbourne.

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