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Maryland Politics
Posted at 02:52 PM ET, 09/12/2012

Cordish celebrates new slots, avoids referendum talk

Representatives of the Cordish Cos. on Wednesday celebrated the opening of the rest of their casino’s massive gaming floor but stayed mum on plans for Maryland’s expanded gambling referendum.


David S. Cordish, chairman of the Cordish Cos., at the opening of Maryland Live! in June. (Photo by Mark Gail/The Washington Post)
Maryland Live! opened at Arundel Mills mall in June but has added a couple of new sections in the months since. As of Wednesday, the casino’s full complement of 4,750 slot machines and electronic tables games were in place, and there was a new grand entrance.

“It’s a very, very nice feeling to have the front door open,” David S. Cordish, chairman of the Cordish Cos., told a crowd of journalists and invited guests during a ceremony outside the casino, where patrons had been entering through a side door.

From the makeshift stage, Cordish made clear that he was not going to entertain any questions about whether his company plans to get involved in November’s referendum, which has already drawn millions in contributions from other gambling companies on both sides.

“We’re not going to get into that today,” Cordish said. “What we’re doing is trying to run a business.”

A group of investors, led by Caesars Entertainment, is among the latest to make a donation to the pro-expansion campaign. The group, which has a license to build and operate a casino in Baltimore, has given $1.2 million, according to a campaign spokeswoman.

Cordish was among the most vocal opponents of an expanded gambling plan as it was debated last month by the General Assembly.

The plan — on which voters will have the final say — would allow a sixth Maryland casino, in Prince George’s County, as well as live table games, such as black jack and roulette, at the state’s five previously authorized slots venues.

Wednesday’s focus was on showing off Maryland Live!, which now has its final 1,043 slot machines, a high-limit slots room and lounge and a new retail store. The only major amenity that remains unopened is a Prime Rib steak house.

The casino was packed during the late-morning ceremony, thanks in part to a promotion that offered up to $100 in free slots play. Parking proved a major challenge for some patrons.

By  |  02:52 PM ET, 09/12/2012

 
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