Maryland Live Casino opens its doors to the public
Jodi Miller (black dress) and Diana Terrill were some of the VIP guests who were allowed into the new Maryland Live Casino to start playing slot machines early. Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III is in the background. (Gene Sweeney Jr./Baltimore Sun / June 6, 2012)
Just after 10 p.m., Roxine Noone of Jessup burst through the doors of the just-opened casino at Arundel Mills mall and whooped her excitement — holding a crisp $100 bill out in front of her.
"I have been waiting nine years for this," she said.
Judy Sorrell of Annapolis threw her hands into the air as she came through the doors after having waited in line for more than five hours.
"We just wanted to be here to be part of history," she said, "and now we're part of history."
With the opening of Maryland Live's first phase, the number of slot machines operating in the state has more then doubled — and, officials hope, so will tax revenue from slots.
Maryland Live, the state's third slots facility, set expectations high, and its operators hope to maintain the momentum created by the lavish opening night.
"This is just the start of it," said Rob Norton, the casino's president and general manager, on Wednesday. "Those who say that this is the end of the process, they'll see that this is the beginning of everything."
Before the casino opened to the public at 10 p.m., the Cordish Cos., Maryland Live's owner and developer, held a three-hour party and gambling session for about 2,000 VIPs.
Guests milled around eating and drinking. A man on a large tricycle with an umbrella of wine glasses above him served drinks. A woman surrounded by a table of desserts moved along the aisles, as women on stilts and dressed in colonial garb glided along behind her. Many other costumed women in beads and feathers flitted by.
Mary Miller of Pasadena sat nearby at a slot machine. A longtime gambler at Dover Downs, she said she was impressed.
"I'm not going to give up Dover, but I'm doing well," she said.
Her neighbor Cindy Ford stood nearby, eating a plate of food. The machine she had been playing had malfunctioned three times in a row, freezing in mid-play, she said. Still, she was having fun.
"It's beautiful, fantastic," she said. "I'll be back."
Glitches in the machines weren't the only problems.
Speeches from Maryland Live owner David Cordish, Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold and others were largely drowned out by the crowd during a ribbon-cutting and presentation of checks to four local nonprofits.
In general, though, the mood was festive.
"We are overly impressed with the facilities and all the fanfare," said Ericka Woods, a seventh-grade history teacher in Prince George's County who lives in Mitchellville. "I'm here to support the state and its revenue."
"So teachers can get a raise!" said Woods' friend Tyronda Boone, also a teacher in Prince George's.