Baltimore casino not expected to open until mid-2014

Caesars group supports a sixth casino license in state if table games are permitted

June 26, 2012|By Steve Kilar, The Baltimore Sun

The slots casino that a group led by Caesars Entertainment Corp. wants to build near M&T Bank Stadium will not be complete until the middle of 2014 at the earliest, the company's head said Monday, meaning the proposed facility's timeline would be extended by at least six months.

"We are anxiously awaiting the issuance of the license for the Baltimore facility," said Gary Loveman, the chairman, CEO and president of Caesars, during a meeting with The Baltimore Sun's editorial board.

Caesars would need about 18 months to build the two-story casino and get it up and running, the company said.

Caesars planned to open the casino by the end of 2013, but the state licensing process has not moved as quickly as the company and state lottery officials anticipated.

On Thursday, the Maryland State Lottery Commission recommended approval of Caesars' license to build and operate the casino, which is planned for a city-owned parcel off Russell Street in South Baltimore that was set aside for a casino in 2009.

A separate state panel — the Video Lottery Facility Location Commission — now must review documents from an investigation into Caesars and its partners.

Donald C. Fry, the location commission chairman, said he hoped a decision on the license's approval would be made by the end of July. The location commission's next meeting has not been scheduled, Fry said.

Caesars applied for the license in September. Fry wanted a decision made on the application by the close of the General Assembly session in April, but background checks of the companies and people involved in the proposal took longer than expected, he said.

At the meeting Monday, Loveman also reaffirmed Caesars' support for a sixth gaming location in Maryland, provided table games were approved for all state casinos. Last week, a state work group failed to reach agreement on a new casino in Prince George's County.

Though a sixth casino would cut into Caesars' customer base, revenue from table games at the Baltimore location would make up for some of the projected losses, Loveman said.

The Caesars-led group, the only eligible applicant to build and run the Baltimore casino, has said it would operate under the Harrah's name, the company's lower-tier gaming brand. If table games were approved, the company might consider using its premier Horseshoe brand here, Loveman said.

A prior version of this article inaccurately described the extent to which the addition of table games would diminish Caesars' financial losses if a casino were built in Prince's George's County. It is Caesars' position that "revenue from table games cannot serve as a direct one-for-one substitute for the loss of [video lottery terminal] revenues" as a result of adding a sixth slots location, according to the company's written statement to the state casino work group. The Sun regrets the error.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.