Maryland Live Casino set to open

Maryland Live Casino (Photo: Brad Bell)

The most noticeable feature of the Maryland Live Casino is that it is huge. From the outside, it towers over Arundel Mills Mall.

Inside, with 3,200 slot machines, its developer says it is among the biggest anywhere.

“So this is the true, the first true world class gaming entertainment destination in the state,” Joe Weinberg says.

Blinking, buzzing, chiming and musical slot machines stretch out across a 160,000-square-foot gaming floor. There are also simulated Vegas-style table games, where a robotic dealer flips actual cards for a $25 minimum for a baccarat game. An automated dice tumbler rolls dice for a craps game too. There is also a roulette wheel under glass for roulette.

As the state of Maryland plans a special legislative session to vote on real table games and a full-fledged casino at National Harbor, the Maryland Live people say they remain opposed.

Weinberg says he believes it's inappropriate to put a competitor in the heart of Maryland Live's market.

Opening along with the casino next week are a Bobby Flay's Burger Palace, a Cheesecake Factory, an outlet of Phillips Seafood along with a big buffet. That's where Calvin Overton works.

He's one of 700-plus new employees at the casino.

“Made a big difference to me and a lot of people that didn't have jobs putting people to work,” Overton says.

That's in addition to the hundreds of construction workers still scrambling around to finish on time.

Executive chef Rudy Volpe says it’s been a pleasure to be in a position to hire.

“And after giving somebody a job who's been unemployed for a year or more who looks you in the eye with a tear and says thank you for changing my life,” Volpe says. “I can’t go home at night and not think that's the greatest thing that happened to me today.”