Just a few short years ago, Maryland residents were spending their weekends traveling to Pennsylvania or New Jersey in order to get their gambling fix. Now, all those gamblers have to do is travel a few minutes and they will be in a state-of-the-art gaming facility.
Tonight, the Maryland Live casino at the Arundel Mills mall will open to the delight of thousands of Maryland residents. While there are other gaming facilities in Maryland, Maryland Live is the one that has created the biggest hype, and also has become the most controversial.
For the past several years, anti-gaming groups have fought hard to keep a casino from opening at Arundel Mills. Their efforts, however, have failed, and tonight the casino is set to open to the public for the first time at 10PM. The late opening will introduce a new type of nightlife to the area.
«It should be a fantastic crowd,» said Ramsey Berlin, a Pennsylvania resident who happened to be visiting family in Maryland this week. «I remember when the first big casino opened in Pennsylvania, people were real excited. I missed that opening, but tonight I’m gonna go check out the new casino here (in Maryland.)
Maryland Live will not be the first gaming facility opened in Maryland, two others have opened in the past couple of years. The new casino will be the most celebrated, as casino gambling advocates have been pushing the idea of increased revenue and job creation that will occur with Maryland Live’s opening.
«We have needed a boost in the economy, and the other two casinos have helped,» said Peter Sampson. «But this casino is on a whole new level. This one will be the biggest of them all, and it is the one that people have been fighting for and are looking forward to.»
Projections show that Maryland Live is expected to bring over $400 million to the state on an annual basis. Over 3,000 slot machines will be flashing and ringing at the opening this evening. That number far surpasses the Casino at Ocean Downs, which has 800 machines, and Hollywood Casino, which is home to 1,500 machines.
The 3,100 machines is just a starting point for Maryland Live. The casino will bring in an additional 1,500 machines by the Fall.