The Maryland Live! Casino at Arundel Mills Mall has been abuzz with action since it opened. The casino introduced Vegas-style table games only a month ago to compete with West Virginia's Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races - the regional powerhouse.
“I've often referred to this facility as the best kept secret in the gaming industry," said Al Britton, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races President.
Maryland was reportedly losing hundreds of millions of dollars a year to out-of-state casinos with table games. But that trend may be changing. Maryland Live was successful with slots, but with the addition of table games, gamblers started pouring in.
Maryland Live! president Rob Norton says revenue and traffic are up 20-30 percent with the addition of table games.
“Now if I want gamble with my friends or just have a night out, they can just come within 15 minutes of where they live to meet me at Maryland Live," said Dennis Jones, a Maryland resident.
But the exodus to Maryland wasn't a surprise for Britton. He says his casino planned ahead by offering a different, destination experience that includes on-site horse racing, top shelf dining, more experienced staff and a nearby hotel.
“A large number of our guests will go and try the new casino,” explained Britton. “But we think we will get most of those folks back because of how we treat them and the relationships we've built with them."
Virginia's Beverley Creed says she lives in between both casinos and prefers the Hollywood Casino experience.
"I really, really enjoy it,” said Creed. “And knock on wood, I'm pretty lucky.”
Both casino leaders say their hope is that this casino war plays out more like a bloodless battle where everyone wins.