UMaine Economist Estimates Economic Impact of Proposed Oxford Resort Casino

Contact: Todd Gabe, 581-3307

ORONO — A resort-style casino such as the one proposed in Oxford with slot machines and table games could annually bring in $127 million in gaming revenue, according to research by University of Maine economist Todd Gabe.

Gabe, a veteran at conducting economic analysis of large-scale proposed developments and tax initiatives in Maine, recently calculated that the estimated spending by resort casino visitors could have a statewide economic contribution, including multiplier effects, of $283 million in annual sales revenue, support 2,784 full- and part-time jobs, and provide $80.7 million in wages, salaries and benefits.

In addition, the state would receive at least $60.9 million in tax and other government revenue from the economic activity associated with such a facility, Gabe reports in a study released today.

Study results are based on restaurant and lodging taxable sales figures from Maine Revenue Services, hospitality employment data from the U.S. Census Bureau, industry statistics from the American Gaming Association, and hard figures on actual gaming revenues from Hollywood Slots in Bangor.

“The idea of the study was to estimate the potential for slot machines in Oxford compared to the Bangor area, and then apply this ratio to actual slot machine revenues from Hollywood Slots,” says Gabe, a professor of economics. “While this approach should be fairly accurate, it does not tell us the exact source of gaming and other revenues.”

Gabe’s estimates of the gaming activity at the proposed Oxford resort casino, combined with actual figures from Hollywood Slots, would place Maine below — even on a per capita basis — most other states with casinos.

Maine voters will decide in a November referendum whether to allow plans to move forward with a casino proposal.

The study was commissioned by Maine Taxpayers Taking Charge, which supports a resort casino in Oxford. Gabe’s study does not take a position on whether gaming is positive or negative for the state or region.

“I enjoy working with data on topics of interest to Maine residents, but I leave it up to others to debate the issues,” Gabe says. “I encourage people to check out the report and learn more about how I came up with the numbers and how to interpret them.”

The peer-reviewed report is available at the School of Economics website.