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New Table Games Bring Excitement To Hollywood Casinos In Maine

Pennsylvania may have set off a trend last year that could change the direction of the casino gambling industry in the Northeast forever. When Pennsylvania lawmakers authorized table games at their casinos, it sent a message to the rest of the states in the Northeast that anything less than full scale gambling would be unacceptable as a business model.

Today, Maine joins the club of East Coast states that allow table game gambling. Maine voters approved a measure in November that allows casinos to operate table games, and on Friday, the Hollywood Casino in Bangor became the first in the state to do so. The casino opened six blackjack tables, a roulette table, and seven poker tables.

"This is great for those of us that lost the ability to play poker online last year," said Victor Thompson, a self-proclaimed professional poker player. "I have been traveling to Atlantic City and Pennsylvania to play poker over the past year, and now I will be able to stay much closer to home. I don't know if they'll be big money games, but at least I'll be able to keep working on my skills on a daily basis."

Others were also excited about the new table games, with almost 100 people filing in to the facility upon opening this morning. The poker tables are a welcomed addition, but it is the blackjack tables that most customers flocked to shortly after 8AM when the casino doors opened.

"I wanted to be one of the first people to play blackjack," said Marc Blevin. "I was here when the casino opened, and I can say I played one of the first hands ever dealt at Hollywood. It is a cool feeling, and I even won a little bit of money in my first try, so that is always a bonus."

Hollywood Casino will soon have competition for gamblers such as Thompson and Blevin, as the Oxford Casino will open in June. Oxford will be home to over 10 table games, not quite as many as Hollywood has started with. The two facilities would both consider expanding their offerings if the demand is there.

The addition of table games serves several purposes for Maine. The state will receive a portion of the revenue generated from the games, and the unemployment rate dropped thanks to the nearly 100 hirings at Hollywood in preparation of the new games. The poker and blackjack tables have been packed all day at Hollywood Casino, and executives believe that will be the case for the first several months that the games are offered.

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