Governor Paul LePage, along with lawmakers and casino owners broke ground on a $25 million expansion at the Oxford Casino Tuesday on a new hotel slated to open next year.

The expansion will see an attached hotel added to the casino as well as an expansion of the casino gaming floor. Banquet and meeting space will be included in the plans for expansion, as well as dining options and 100 new guest rooms. Bill Mudd, Churchill Downs’ chief operating officer, said, “We are honored to continue investing in this community, to create new jobs, and generate economic development, both for Oxford and surrounding communities,” according to Maine Public Broadcasting.

Churchill Downs purchased the Oxford Casino in 2013 for $160 million and the current expansion marks the second time the company has added to the property since then. Churchill Downs was praised by Governor LePage for bringing jobs to Maine. He said, “And the most important thing is they came to Maine, they didn’t ask for anything, they just do what they do best. And now they’re going to invest more money.”

In other news in the state, the Senate recently voted against a bid to develop a resort-style casino in Southern Maine. The proposal has received a thumbs-down from Governor Paul LePage. Much like previous gambling bills, the argument over building a casino that proponents say would garner the state more than $500 million is one of geography. Strong opposition from Lawmakers from eastern Maine, as well as those from the western portion of the state, where the Hollywood Casino is located in Bangor and the Oxford Casino is located, respectively, has stalled the proposal. Those opponents say they don’t believe a third casino could be supported by the state without revenues at the existing facilities being adversely affected. Lawmakers in southern Maine, however, have been mostly supportive.

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