Maryland Live! debuts table games

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Local,Maryland,Matt Connolly

They've rolled the dice, dealt the cards and spun the wheel.

The Maryland Live! Casino in Anne Arundel County opened table games to the public Thursday in a move that will only add to the casino's state-high revenue.

The Linthicum casino -- the closest to the Washington area -- rolled out 122 table games, including blackjack, roulette and craps. About 10 percent of the facility's 4,750 slot machines were removed to make room for the additions, which in the summer will include 50 more tables in a two-floor poker room.

Maryland Live!, which also added round-the-clock operation in late December, brought in $44.6 million in March.

Maryland gambling analyst James Karmel said he expects the casino to bring in 10 to 20 percent more revenue now that table games are open.

"They're just in a great strategic position to build a table games customer base," Karmel said. "The fact that Maryland Live! can be open and running table games for a year with no competition in the Washington region can allow them to build up that base."

The competition will come in the form of three new casinos over the next three years. Caesars Entertainment is scheduled to open

a casino in Baltimore in 2014, a new Prince George's County casino can open in 2016, and the troubled Rocky Gap casino in Western Maryland is on track to open in June.

Caesars is planning to bring 80 to 110 table games to Baltimore, while plans for the Prince George's County location will be made clear once an operator and site are chosen. The assumed front-runner, proposed by MGM Resorts International, is an $800 million luxury casino at National Harbor. Bids are due May 10.

Maryland Live!'s haul in March

was good for nearly 77 percent of the state's total casino revenue.

Hollywood Casino Perryville, which opened 20 table games on March 6, generated $9.5 million in revenue last month. That's down from $13.7 million in March 2012, although Maryland Live! had not opened at that point.

The Casino at Ocean Downs near Ocean City made $3.9 million in March, down from $4.1 million a year earlier.

While Ocean Downs has no table games currently, casino officials have said they are considering adding them.

mconnolly@washingtonexaminer.com

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