A group led by Caesars Entertainment won an expected license from a Maryland panel on Tuesday to build and operate a casino in downtown Baltimore.
Caesars officials said they plan to open a Harrah’s-brand facility with 3,750 slot machines by mid-2014. The facility will be located just south of the football stadium where the Baltimore Ravens play.
With Tuesday’s action, the state has now awarded all five casino licenses authorized by Maryland voters in 2008.
In a special session scheduled to start next week, lawmakers will weigh whether to expand the state’s gambling program, by adding a sixth casino in Prince George’s County and authorizing table games, such as blackjack and roulette, at existing slots locations.
The outcome of the session could alter the scope of the Baltimore facility.
The project is a joint venture by Caesars and several other investment partners, including Rock Gaming, a company headed by Dan Gilbert, the majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Caesars and its partners said they plan to invest more than $300 million in the facility. About $180 million of that is expected to come from debt financing.
As planned, the Baltimore casino would be the second largest in the state, behind Maryland Live!, a facility that opened last month at Arundel Mills mall in Anne Arundel County. That casino opened with about 3,200 machines and is expected to grow to 4,750 machines by this fall.
If a Prince George’s site is approved, it would likely have a similar number of slot machines as Baltimore. MGM Resorts, the potential operator, has indicated it would likely put more emphasis on table games than other Maryland facilities.