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The full proposal by Mr. Cordish calls for a 215,000-square-foot facility, including a 125,000-square-foot gambling space. Mr. Cordish also wants to bring fine dining and live entertainment to the venue.

Although a 2008 constitutional amendment legalizing slot machines passed in the county by a 149,604-103,814 vote, opponents to putting the casino next to the mall succeeded in getting enough signatures for a referendum. The petition effort prevailed against court challenges that were settled in July by Maryland’s highest court, which ordered the referendum to go forward.

Local opponents have joined the Maryland Jockey Club in trying to shoot down the zoning ordinance. They say the slot machine venue should be built at Laurel Park horse racing track, because gambling already exists there and many voters thought that was the likely place for it to be built.

Plans for Laurel crumbled, however, when bankrupt track owner Magna Entertainment Corp. failed to put up the $28.5 million slot licensing fee, paving the way for Cordish Cos.to win the license.

Maryland’s first casino opened last month in Perryville off Interstate 95 with 1,500 slot machines. A second slots facility near Ocean City at the Ocean Downs horse racing track with 800 slot machines is scheduled to open in December. Two other proposed sites in Baltimore and Western Maryland are in limbo.