Maryland’s shiny new $1.4 billion casino in Prince George’s County is attracting a ton of gamblers or some people with really deep pockets, or possibly both.
MGM executives opened their $1.4 billion resort and casino at National Harbor yesterday with a warning to prospective visitors issued via video at a press conference: “We are not in the hotel business. We are in the holy sh*t business.”
Baltimore’s sole casino is looking to bolster its ranks at a hiring event this week, and not just for positions specific to the gambling trade.
Bob Dylan is a man of many talents… including, apparently, casino sculptures.
Three months into its existence, Baltimore City’s new Horseshoe Casino still lags far behind the suburban Maryland Live! when it comes to earnings.
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.
Slot machines are the worst kind of gambling. They draw you in with their flashing lights and goofy themes, but require nothing more of you than your ability to sit on a stool and spend increasing amounts of money. There’s none of the mathematics, bluffing, or complex decision-making required by actual card games. So the idea of a slot machine that costs $500 to play once is, frankly, a little horrifying to me.