October 2nd, 2010 | Published in Casino News
Maryland is preparing to open its first casino this week in Perryville. This decision is accompanied by strong support from most voters who feel slot-machine gambling will help state budget issues. More than half of Maryland’s voters in a survey conducted by the Washington Post say they are ready for table games to be legalized in the state. They feel that it is unfair to legalize one type of gambling (slots) but not another.
The Hollywood Casino
The Hollywood Casino in Perryville will feature 1,500 slot machines and plans to open today, September 30th. The opening will be accompanied by Governor Martin O’Malley who headed the 2008 vote for legalization of five slot machines around the state. 59 percent of Maryland voters approved this vote.
With many setbacks, the opening of this casino has been the only bright spot in Maryland’s push for legalized gambling. Few gaming companies were interested in the state when the bids were open for the five sites. This is primary due to the economic crisis currently striking the United States.
Also, a smaller casino is slated to open mid-December at Ocean Downs racetrack. This date is tentative due to continuous construction delays. Once completed, the Ocean Downs property will contain 750 slot machines. The two largest proposed gaming sites are in Anne Arundel County and Baltimore. The fate of these sites remains uncertain. Again, Governor O’Malley continues to push for the development of these sites.
The Raw Numbers
57 percent of Maryland voters believe the addition of a slots casino is a positive development while 32 percent are against it. On the other hand, 69 percent of voters think the extra revenue from a casino will help the state budget while 26 percent believe it will do nothing. Within the Governor’s race between Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and current Governor O’Malley, a big issue is slots.
Ehrlich claims O’Malley has made a mess of the legalization of gambling situation. Overall, supporters of the casino are divided as to whether O’Malley has been successful and effective. This has become such a major part of each campaign that they are adding it to each of their platforms.
The Hollywood Casino in Perryville will be an excellent test to prove that Maryland is ready for gambling. The minor bickering between two politicians will not improve the state’s budget; however, gambling may do just that.