(Gene Sweeney Jr., Baltimore…)
The state's largest casino plans to hire hundreds of dealers and install 150 table games, with some taking wagers of up to $10,000, Maryland Live officials said Wednesday in the first detailed announcement since voters legalized such games last week.
As soon as the voter-approved expansion takes effect, the casino will begin operating 24 hours a day. David Cordish, chairman of the Baltimore-based Cordish Cos., said he is considering building a high-rise hotel with conference facilities next to the company's casino in Anne Arundel County.
In phases, tables will replace up to 10 percent of the nearly 5,000 slot machines now on the floor. Many of the electronic table games meant to simulate a live dealer experience will be replaced by a workforce of 800 dealers.
Since Monday, more than 500 people have signed up to attend a free, 12-week dealer school that will be held in a Glen Burnie shopping mall beginning in January, casino spokeswoman Carmen Gonzales said. Anne Arundel County Community College will help run the school.
Based on what dealers make at a competing casino, Maryland Live officials expect dealers to earn $50,000 a year in wages and tips.
Current plans for Maryland Live call for blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and sic bo tables to be ready in the spring. No poker tables will be added in the first phase, but eventually up to one-third of the casino's tables will be for poker games. Slot machines will be shifted from prime territory in the casino — areas near the front door, by the bar and near restaurants.
"Before the casino was even designed, we had planned for table games," said Robert J. Norton, the facility's general manager, adding that they wanted to be ready if voters approved an expansion of gambling.
The casino's leadership said it wants to hire Maryland workers. The facility can also expect a rush of applications from experienced dealers from Atlantic City and elsewhere, said Joe Conahan, recruitment director of Casino Careers, an online job site based in Atlantic City.
"Gaming is kind of on the down right now in Atlantic City," Conahan said. "The Northeast has been overflooded with casinos."
Some casinos are cutting hours for workers, he said, leading some dealers to juggle part-time jobs in Atlantic City and the growing gambling center of Philadelphia.
Maryland Live also plans to hire 400 other workers such as pit bosses, cage managers and security. Overall, the hiring will double the casino's workforce.
The casino has moved more quickly to implement table games than other Maryland casinos.
Ocean Downs has not publicly committed to adding table games. General Manager Joe Cavilla said the company is excited about the opportunity but is studying its market to evaluate support for such gambling.
Penn National Gaming, owner of the casino in Perryville, has not announced plans. The company fought expanded gambling in Maryland, which it saw as a threat to its flagship Hollywood Casino in Charles Town, W.Va.
Days after voters approved expanded gambling, developers of a planned casino near M&T Bank Stadium announced a new card-centric plan that catered to players of table games. The Horseshoe Casino by Caesars Entertainment expects to eventually hire 1,700 employees, some of them part time, said Chad Barnhill, the casino's general manager.
Baltimore Sun reporter Chris Korman and the Associated Press contributed to this article.