Maryland Live!, the third biggest commercial casino in the United States, has been given the green light to add table games to its 4,750 slots with local voters approving the expansion of gambling.
Operator, The Cordish Company, said it will move quickly to hire 1,000 new workers, install live table and increase its opening hours, pushing towards a 24 hour operation as soon as government allows. Table games could arrive at Maryland’s three existing casinos early in 2013.
Maryland Live! spokesperson Carmen Gonzales said: “Maryland Live! looks forward to enhancing its gaming offering and is prepared to Go Live! with table games, physical modifications and hiring for over 1,000 new positions, soon after the State issues the necessary governing regulations.”
Voters paved the way for the introduction of table games as part of a bill that will allow for 24-hour operations and a license for a new casino in Prince George’s County. Maryland residents favoured Question 7 by a vote of 51.6 per cent to 48.4 per cent. Voters said job creation and keeping gambling revenue in Maryland, instead of allowing it to be spent in neighbouring states like West Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, were both key to the vote. Maryland Live! had argued that with three casinos operating in Maryland, along with Hollywood Casino in Perryville and another at Oceans Down, it needed more time to establish itself before new competitors were added. In October, casinos in the state pulled in US$39.6m in revenue in October with Maryland Live! accounting for most of that with revenues of $30.6m. Penn National Gaming, also opposed Question 7 and paid $42m towards the anti-gaming expansion campaign that in total surpassed $90m, more than the total spent on Maryland’s last four elections.
Jim Murren, MGM’s CEO, said MGM hoped to be involved in the new casino. “The people of Maryland have delivered a message: Sorting through an onslaught of dishonesty, voters chose to support progress,” he said. “No one expected such a vicious campaign, but common sense prevailed and Maryland will certainly benefit from our hard work to fight a campaign of unrestrained distortion. Starting today, MGM’s talented team of designers and resort experts begin work on our proposal for a great destination resort for the people of Prince George’s County and the state of Maryland. We stand ready to compete with all comers for this license and the privilege to bring an MGM resort to National Harbor.”
The Prince George’s County casino is prevented from opening until 2016.