As that little skirmish on the first weekend indicated, a fighting stance belies the glitz of the Horseshoe Casino’s coming-out party.
The highway-side billboards for the Maryland Live! Casino in Arundel Mills advertise “Over $10 billion in payouts and counting,” a reminder that the two-year-old gaming complex was there first, and could be easily accessed on the way home.
At a time when Atlantic City casinos are folding and Horseshoe corporate parent Caeser’s has fewer chips to bet, the appeal of a competitor outside the gates is more necessary evil than welcome opportunity for brand synergy.
As such, the Horseshoe’s farriers have taken great pains to make sure wipe from the memory banks and any thought of the neighbor to the south. In fact, from the moment visitors walk safely under cover from the massive parking garage into the casino itself, a neverending stream of bright lights and loud noises wipe away all thoughts of the outside world. The bar doesn’t even close, so there’s no reason to leave.
That first moment entering the casino doesn’t seem designed to appeal to the old school riverboat gambler. Rather it reminds one of the flashy websites with dozens of casino games. The flash of fluorescent lights seems to be seeking the same disorienting burst of energy that makes children light up when they walk into Chuck-E-Cheese, or wherever the kids go to get silly with their parents’ money these days. At the Horseshoe entrance, however, there is a security guard checking IDs, and the lights shimmering above strive for a bit more elegance.
The entrance spits patrons forth into a maze of slot machines and tables that form the main event for most casino-goers. After taking a couple of laps around the first floor, it became immediately clear that all of the shining, buzzing machines were the main attraction. The gambling takes up most of the center, with the exception of the 24-hour bar.