August 26 was a landmark day for Maryland casinos as the Horseshoe Casino in downtown Baltimore officially opened its doors to the public. The Caesars Entertainment-owned casino is the fifth casino to open in Maryland, joining Maryland Live, Hollywood Casino Perryville, The Casino at Ocean Downs and the Rocky Gap Casino Resort.
The much-ballyhooed Horseshoe Casino becomes the second-largest casino in the state next to Maryland Live. Its gaming offerings include 2,500 slot machines, 122 live table games, and a 25-table live World Series of Poker room that no other casino in Maryland can match.
Maryland Live is still expected to take in the lion’s share of the state’s revenue pie but Horseshoe Casino will give it a run for its money. Its 122,000-square foot gambling space is more than double the space of Hollywood Casino Perryville.
Despite being smaller than Maryland Live, Horseshoe General Manager Chad Barnhill believes that his casino can boast of unique offerings to entice more casino-goers. “We are the first casino in the state of Maryland to be able to offer outdoor gaming, which allows smoking and gaming to be held at the same time,” Barnhill told local news outlet WBAL-TV 11.
Half of staff from Baltimore
Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake were among the dignitaries who attended the splashy opening of the casino. In addition to the economic benefits the casino will offer the state, Rawlings-Blake lauded Caesars for not only finishing the project on time but also living up to its promise of hiring most (almost 51 percent) of the casino’s staff from within the city.
“In order for this to really work, Baltimore City residents have to benefit by getting these jobs,” Rawlings-Blake said during a news conference.
The Horseshoe Casino’s downtown location and its close proximity to Camden Yards (home of the Baltimore Orioles) makes traffic a potential problem.
The Horseshoe has a 3,400-space parking garage at its disposal but the Baltimore Department of Transportation (DOT) is encouraging casino-goers to take public transportation to avoid the hassle of congestion and the lottery of securing a parking slot.
“We strongly encourage people to use mass transit. We anticipate high demand, number of crowds and people trying to get into the city,” the DOT said in its advisory.