Maryland Live table games slated for April 11 opening

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Photo - Gambling chips stacked around roulette wheel on gaming table
Gambling chips stacked around roulette wheel on gaming table
Local,Maryland,Matt Connolly

The dice will start rolling at Maryland Live casino's 122 new tables on April 11, the casino announced Tuesday.

The Anne Arundel County casino, the largest in the state, is removing about 10 percent of its 4,750 slot machines to make room for games that include blackjack, craps, roulette and multiple types of poker, along with a new two-level poker room planned for the summer.

"The addition of live-action table games completes the world-class gaming and entertainment experience we have created," Maryland Live President Robert J. Norton said. "The excitement of Vegas-style gaming is now right here in Maryland."

Hollywood Casino in Perryville will add table games even earlier, on March 7, but plans to include only 20 tables.

Maryland gambling analyst James Karmel said the move could prompt Maryland Live's revenue to jump as much as 20 percent.

"Maryland Live is poised to really gain a big share of the Baltimore-Washington table games market right now," he said.

The casino brought in $36 million in January, good for 81 percent of the state's casino revenue. That was its first full month of 24-hour operation, which was legalized along with table games by a state ballot initiative in November. That initiative also allowed creation of a casino in Prince George's County.

While the Prince George's casino can't open until 2016, Caesars Entertainnment is opening a casino in Baltimore in 2014, and the troubled Rocky Gap casino is on track to open in June. The three newcomers will try to cut into Maryland Live's customer base -- Caesars announced plans to add between 80 and 110 table games and a dedicated poker room just days after the initiative passed.

Maryland Live is out ahead of the pack, however. The casino has time to refine its marketing and create a following while the new facilities are being built, Karmel said.

"Clearly [Maryland Live] is going to lose a little revenue, as some customers will peel off and check out the new ones," he said. "But 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."

mconnolly@washingtonexaminer.com

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