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Arundel Mills casino promises more fun

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Maryland Live Casino officials announced Wednesday that they were all in for table games and 24-hour operations at the Anne Arundel County gambling house, promising 1,200 additional jobs and an atmosphere of excitement on the floor of the nation's third-largest casino.

Standing behind a green felt game table with stacks of brightly colored chips arranged in their holders, casino President Robert Norton said the casino "expects to be flipping cards and rolling die by early spring" and maintaining round-the-clock betting by the end of this year — assuming state regulations are approved without any problems.

"There will be more excitement, more fun, late into the hours of the night," Mr. Norton said. "The excitement of the table is hard to match."

Mr. Norton said he expects the table games to bring in 25 percent of revenues for the casino, which is projected to generate $400 million in taxes each year.

About 150 table games will be added to the casino, along with a poker room that can hold 30 to 50 tables.

As he pondered an electronic game of Texas Hold 'em, Hector Rosdo, 64, said he lives about five minutes from the casino and is looking forward to the tables.

"It's more personal," the retired police officer said. "[The dealers] they're human like me. It just feels like you're really playing."

Last week, voters approved the table game expansion — as well as the plan for a casino in Prince George's County.Mr. Norton and David Cordish, chairman of casino developer Cordish Cos., wasted no time, posting job openings on Monday.

Mr. Norton said 500 applications already had been submitted, and he expected thousands by the end of the job search in December. About 800 spots are open for dealers and jobs related to table games, while 400 jobs are up for grabs for security, surveillance, information technology and marketing.

"We made the commitment to hire thousands of Marylanders and people nearby, and we're fulfilling it," Mr. Cordish said.

"The casino issponsoring a free 12-week dealer school to teach the ins and outs of the games, and how to handle chips, shuffle cards and handle money.

Assuming a student completes the school and passes all tests and requirements, Mr. Cordish said, "at the end of the training, you have a job."

In 2008, Maryland voters approved the creation of five slots casinos. To date, only three are operating -- Maryland Live and casinos in Worcester and Cecil counties. Two others — in Baltimore city and in Allegany County -- are under development.

Voters last week approved a sixth casino to be built in Prince George's County and allowed existing casinos to institute table games. Mr. Cordish stayed out of the campaign, but he was outspoken against the plan's potential to further divide business among the five Maryland casinos.

"Ideally, it would have been split into two bills," Mr. Cordish said. "Everyone wants Maryland to have table games."

Mr. Cordish said the table games are expected to draw from a segment of gamblers that Maryland Live has not reached — those who are either superstitious or have preconceived notions about an electronic card game.

Even though the chances of winning on an electric game are the same as those with a dealer, "somehow the atmosphere changes when you bring in dealers," Mr. Cordish said. "That's our emphasis, that's what we're interested in and that's what we are recreating."

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