Thousands Descend on Maryland Live!

The casino opened with excited gamblers and heavy traffic.

Just before 10 p.m. the doors opened, and the fun began.

Thousands of gamblers walked cheerfully into Maryland Live! near Arundel Mills Wednesday night, marking the official opening of the state’s largest casino.

“I’m an addict for gambling,” said Elizabeth Mimms of Hyattsville, who was among the first to enter after waiting in line for most of the afternoon and evening.

Mimms said she frequently has gambled in other states, including Delaware, but was happy to have a new facility close by.

“We have one at home now, here in our home state,” she said. “I’m bringing home a check. They won’t be able to count the money in my hand, I’ll need a check.”

Carolyn Borges-Fote of Washington, DC, was the first member of the public to enter. After waiting in line for nine hours, she walked cheerfully into the casino and raised her arms, as if she had already won some money.

"When we heard the opening date, my mind was set," Borges-Forte said. "I like blackjack."

Bettie McKnight of Baltimore said she's been watching as the building at Arundel Mills progressed.

"I don't have to go anywhere now," said McNight of playing slots. "I'll just stay right here."

There were 3,200 slot and video gaming machines operating Wednesday night, and by about 10:30 p.m. most seats were occupied by gamblers. Meanwhile, some visitors stood in line to eat at the new Bobby Flay’s Burger Palace restaurant, while others gathered around the big screen televisions at the “R” bar.

Slot machines could be played in denominations of 1 cent to $100. The casino boasts more than 100 electronic table game stations, including blackjack, roulette, pai gow poker, three-card poker and baccarat.

By this fall, Maryland Live! will feature another 1,500 slot machines, plus a Rams Head Live concert stage and Prime Rib restaurant.

“We’re thrilled. We think the final product is obviously very exciting,” said Joe Weinberg, managing partner and president of gaming for The Cordish Cos., which developed Maryland Live!

The first night was not without its hiccups. Many gamblers said they had difficulty with the casino’s Live! Rewards Players Card. Moreover, traffic in the Arundel Mills area and on Route 100 was snarled for most of the night, and many visitors said it was hard to find a parking spot.

“I was disappointed outside when we got here,” said Cindy Staubs of Pasadena, who came to the casino with her husband, Michael. “Parking was terrible, traffic getting to the building was terrible and the way they handled the crowd outside was terrible.”

Staubs said she was impressed with the casino once inside, but felt the staff could have been friendlier.

“We’re investors, too. We’re bringing our money here, so if you want us to come back, you have to treat people a little nicer,” she said.

Wilson Turner of Woodlawn earned V.I.P. status, which was supposed to grant attendees early admission, by spinning a wheel inside the Arundel Mills mall. He attended the grand opening with his friend Beverly Philman, a Hanover native.

"We didn't feel very special," said Philman, since there was so much traffic around the mall and in line that they didn't get in until everyone else did. Still, the pair said they would return when it wasn't so crowded.

Alyssa Clark and Jack Spore from Dundalk said they liked the new casino. Both had been to Charlestown, WV, and Dover, DE, to play slots.

"We used to go far away and this is so much closer," Clark said. "It's nicer than most casinos."

Spore agreed, saying, "This is definitely a lot better than most places out there—it's brighter and better people."

Michaelwritescode June 07, 2012 at 09:23 PM
It's the same thing with State run lotteries and gambling everywhere - I think it's generally accepted that lower class and elderly members of the community are the primary contributors to the coffers of those endeavors. These sorts of things are designed to prey upon those who aren't really able to discern what's a wise investment.
Jenn72205 June 07, 2012 at 11:45 PM
I noticed the sign too. they could have left it and put the new one near it
Richard Hertz June 08, 2012 at 05:30 AM
Unfortunately for you Shanna, whether or not the staff thinks they did an awesome job isn't really the critical issue. You see, in business, you have to keep the customers happy...otherwise there won't be a need for any staff.
Adam R June 08, 2012 at 09:51 AM
Maryland has always practiced a double standard in our state: smoking is bad, drinking is bad, gambling is bad. Look at what Maryland has to offer: one can buy smokes anywhere, booze is everywhere, and gambling was easy with LOTTO, Power ball, pick 3/4 twice a day, keno, racetrack horse betting, and now with a local casinos addicts will be easy for the suckers. I should now expect someone to steal my stereo out of my car on the street to get some gambling cash. Word of warning: gambling was going to fix Atlantic City in the 1970's. It was better for a while in the 1990's. Now it has hit rock bottom and if you go out on the boardwalk near Resorts Casino you will be scared for you wallet and your life. Not to say this is going to happen at AA Mills mall, but there have been issues with punks in the past and there is the possibility that a more derelict element attracted to liquored up winners leaving with cash in hand. Just saying.
Dean Smith June 08, 2012 at 10:38 AM
Why does Maryland Live get to display their name on an I-95 sign when other businesses like various shopping centers can't?
edb June 08, 2012 at 11:33 AM
Because Mr. Cordish has deep pockets and there are plenty of our good ole' boys willing to line theirs.
George June 08, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Did anyone see the Fox45 video of the opening? What was the overly madeup big woman at the slot doing with a minature dog in her arm? There is no way that was a service dog. They serve food there for God's sake. Leave the pet home. 2 days in and its already attracting only the highest class clientele (sarcasm). Leopold should be proud. He was obviously too busy focusing romancing his female staffers to see or care that Cordish was screwing his west county constituents.
Frank in Elkridge June 08, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Don't know if anyone remembers, but Leopold signed the bill authorizing the rezoning for the casino practically the instant it was passed. It was as if he was working for Cordish. Later on it was discovered that he was using AA County police to collect campaign contributions, run illegal record checks on political opponents, and serve as look-outs while he had sex with county employees inside his official county vehicle. His buddy the police chief (who was also at the grand opening) just looked the other way even though he was aware that his officers were being used "inappropriately". So he's not exactly the model of integrity in a public servant.
MAW June 08, 2012 at 04:21 PM
That is free advertisement for Cordish and his politicians....
MAW June 08, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Leopold is a Cordish puppet.
Brian C. June 08, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Funny how people think they know other peoples financial situation. Who are you to tell someone else how to spend their entertainment money. I am sure there is something you do for entertainment and you choose to spend your money on that. Well some folks gamble for entertainment.
Double D June 08, 2012 at 06:44 PM
"you will be scared for you wallet and your life" Many would suggest that would describe the Arundel Mills parking lot well before the casino was a twinkle in cordish's eye. All this talk about added crime in the area is crazy, Arundel Mills is a terrible location for crime wether the casino was there or not and it has been that way since it opened. I just can't get over the whining and crying... so they put the casino name on a sign on I-95, a major interstate that can direct traffic especially non-marylanders to go to the casino and put some money into the Maryland economy. And if the slots meet expectations and these $ percentages are correct how can you continue to cry?? 48.5 percent to education (If you have not noticed our schools could use some money), 33 percent to the casino (Any business can be expected to make a profit), 7 percent to increase the purses (Gotta get folks to come to MD and not surrounding states), 2.5 percent to the racetrack facility for capital improvements (Who cares?, but you would if the Preakness economic impact went to another state), 2 percent to the Maryland Lottery (Increase those purses to bring in even more $) ,1.5 percent to small, minority and women owned businesses (Ya, this would be annoying huh?), 5.5 percent to the local impact fund (I think this is Leopold's security and womanizing fund)
Frank in Elkridge June 08, 2012 at 06:47 PM
All that is fine. Just should have put the casino somewhere else in AA county.
Calique June 08, 2012 at 06:49 PM
There is NO WAY in H-E-double-hockey-sticks that those promised percentages will come to fruition in real life. I believe that those tantalizing, feel-good, promises are like all other too-good-to-be-true political promises to make convince voters. NO WAY is the money going to be doled out like that. NO WAY!!!!!
John June 08, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Local schools will not receive ONE RED CENT. Show me any area in the country with casinos and I'll show you trashed surrounding neighborhoods and schools.
George June 08, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Any money made will end up in one place and one place only--Cordish's pocket. Well maybe a small percentage will end up in Leopold's pocket based upon whatever handshake agreement was made. Just hope he realizes there's no honor among thieves.. Just ask the good poeple of Louisville, Kentucky or the Seminole Nation if they ever saw one dime of the money he promised them. PT Barnum was right.
John June 08, 2012 at 07:49 PM
http://casinowatch.org/studies_research/New%20Casinos%20Impact.pdf - a good read. Casinos end up be the "vampire squid" of local communities - sucking the life out of surrounding businesses.
djp952 June 08, 2012 at 09:27 PM
They didn't call me back today :( I was traveling to Kansas City, but I had no missed calls when I got here. For what it's worth, the FHA makes it pretty clear that this should be on a BLUE sign like any other attraction (or gas station - lol). I'm not going to let this one go with them. I'd like to know what the sign on 295 looks like as well, it was still covered up last time I used it. Link to the FHA manual: http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/. How do I start a "Save the I-95 Elkridge sign" campaign?
Adam R June 09, 2012 at 02:41 AM
What happened to all the money in the MD transportation fund? It was taken for other things. Just because the state says the money is earmarked don't make it so!
TJ June 10, 2012 at 12:26 PM
I was at the mall yesterday and was surprised by the lack of traffic. I was expecting gridlock but there was only regular Saturday traffic over there. Just my .02.
John June 10, 2012 at 01:02 PM
When word gets out that it's a traffic nightmare and people are in line until 2am most people get the hint and lay low.
Gary June 10, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Let's keep fighting this elephant!!!! Keep protesting thugs like Cordish!!!!!!!
Gary June 10, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Can anyone tell me how to keep it from getting worse?
Dale Riley June 10, 2012 at 04:23 PM
One of the first things I learned in programming class is that a computer can not generate a truly random number. It has to have a starting point. It can chew on that starting point with a variety of functions but it can't make a number up out of nothing. What is the point of electronic games? You're just following whatever algorithm has been programmed into the machines.
Adam R June 10, 2012 at 07:11 PM
that is right on the money. The Racetrax game has odds so you get bigger winnings betting on the 10,11,or 12 horse than the 1, 2,3. In real life the odds are made by the gamblers betting on each horse. With this program who the hell knows how the computer picked the winner.
Polly June 11, 2012 at 11:37 AM
I can remember when the 295 traffic was horrendous when Arundel Mills opened right in time for Christmas sales. It was bad then too, didn't hear too many complaints about it though.
George June 11, 2012 at 12:17 PM
You must not have talked to us folks who lived there way before Cordish came to town. We didn't like the mall and we hate the casino. Ridge Chapel and Ridge Roads were once upon a time free of congestion allowing us easy access offf of 295 to our homes. nomore. Now, during rush hour and much of the weekend, we can't even turn out of our neighborhoods.
John June 11, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Correct. The odds on slot machines are set by the programmer but they have to be set within the legal requirements.
Calique June 11, 2012 at 05:06 PM
As of noon today (one hour ago) the new "diverging diamond" interchange at 295 and Arundel Mills Blvd is open.
Russ DIaz June 13, 2012 at 08:27 AM
That's because all of these whiney-babies are pampering their soon-to-be whiney babies by going out and buying them WHATEVER they want for Christmas...(a holiday that we have TRULY forgotten the meaning of), just to see them rip off the colorful paper in a 15 minute time period and retreat to their rooms and hide under the rocks that their parents have created for them. Just remember all of you crybabies...like father, like son...and also, whiners do not always get their way...winners do.


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