July 13, 2024
Annapolis, US 75 F

A Traveler’s Guide to Annapolis: Exploring Casinos and More

Nestled on the sparkling shores of Chesapeake Bay, Annapolis is a city that marries the charm of its rich colonial history with the excitement of modern attractions. In our upcoming article, “A Traveler’s Guide to Annapolis: Exploring Casinos and More,” we will take you on an enchanting journey through this Maryland gem. Prepare to be captivated by the city’s stunning waterfront views, historic landmarks, and the seductive allure of its numerous casinos. From the cobblestone streets echoing tales of yesteryears to the thrilling sounds of slot machines and roulette wheels, Annapolis promises a unique blend of experiences that are sure to leave every traveler longing for more. So pack your bags and fasten your seatbelts as we embark on an exploration of all that Annapolis has to offer.

NOTE: The event below, Arts Alive 25, was held on September 8, 2023.

Live! Casino & Hotel

The Live! Casino & Hotel, situated in Hanover, Maryland, is a haven for gaming enthusiasts, proudly offering over 3,900 slot machines, electronic table games, 189 live table games, and 52 poker tables. But the allure of this destination extends beyond just its gambling offerings. The casino hotel, which provides parking for 5,000 vehicles in a six-story garage and stands tall at 17 stories, is an iconic landmark in Anne Arundel County. Over time, it has seen substantial growth, with the total number of machines now standing at a remarkable 4,750. In June 2018, the site expanded to include an adjoining conference center and hotel, further enhancing the guest experience. Notably, in late 2021, Cordish sold the property and buildings to Gaming and Leisure Properties for a staggering $1.14 billion. Despite the change in ownership, the establishment will continue to operate under the Live! Casino & Hotel brand, with Cordish paying an annual rent of $75 million to the new proprietors. Visitors to this grand casino hotel can look forward to an amalgamation of entertainment, opulence, and thrill, all under one roof.

Horseshoe Casino Baltimore

Horseshoe Baltimore is not just a typical casino. Its strategic position on the southern side of Baltimore offers more than mere gambling opportunities. Neighbored by renowned sports arenas such as M&T Bank Stadium and Camden Yards, Horseshoe integrates the finest aspects of Baltimore, offering a memorable experience. The casino itself flaunts an expansive 122,000-square-foot gaming area, housing everything from classic table games to the highly sought-after World Series of Poker room. For culinary enthusiasts, the Horseshoe’s 20,000-square-foot Baltimore Marketplace showcases a range of food outlets that reflect Charm City’s flavors alongside top-notch restaurants, bars, and lounges. Sporting a sophisticated design and opulent ambiance, this multimillion-dollar establishment promises an unmatched night out. Operated by CBAC Gaming and managed by Caesars Entertainment, Horseshoe Baltimore guarantees a thrilling time for those seeking fun and exhilaration.

Rocky Gap State Park

Rocky Gap State Park, located in Allegany County, Maryland, is a popular destination known for its beautiful natural features and resort-style amenities. Covering 3,000 acres, the park includes Lake Habeeb and Evitts Mountain, offering visitors an array of outdoor activities and luxury facilities, including the Rocky Gap Casino Resort. Since its opening in 1974, the park has been a favorite among locals and tourists alike, regardless of whether they’re thrill-seeking hikers, families looking for water fun, or couples on a romantic escape.

The park’s development was supported by the Maryland Economic Development Corporation, an entity designed to guide state investments in real estate for direct benefit. Despite a promising start, Rocky Gap faced financial struggles, with profits declining over time. However, thanks to subsidies from MEDCO, the resort managed to stay afloat, demonstrating both the potential rewards and risks of economic investment.

The journey to establish a casino at Rocky Gap State Park was challenging. In 2009, Empire Resorts was unable to secure a casino license due to their inability to pay the necessary $4.5 million fee. Their proposal depended on a change in Maryland’s tax laws regarding casinos. In 2011, the state reduced its share of slot machine revenue from 67% to 50%, allowing a Lakes Entertainment subsidiary to open the Rocky Gap Casino Resort in 2013. The resort, which was later purchased by Golden Entertainment in 2015, featured a lakeside lodge with 200 rooms, a golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus, and a variety of table games and slot machines. Currently, the casino operates 665 gaming devices and 17 table games, and the hotel offers 198 rooms and suites.

Situated at the base of Evitts Mountain, Rocky Gap State Park offers a diverse range of activities and amenities. The park’s man-made Lake Habeeb, with its 243 acres of white sand beaches, is a sight to behold. Boating is allowed daily, and visitors can rent paddle boats, canoes, and kayaks. For fishing enthusiasts, the lake is home to a variety of fish species. The park also offers several hiking trails, including the Lakeside Trail, the Evitt’s Homesite Trail, and the Touch of Nature Trail. The park’s amphitheater and concert stage, with a seating capacity of 3,000, can be rented out. Interestingly, the stage was built as a permanent venue for the Rocky Gap Country Bluegrass Festival but was never used for the event.

Hollywood Casino Perryville

The Hollywood Casino Perryville, situated in Perryville, Maryland, is a top-notch hotspot for gaming aficionados and those seeking quality entertainment. As the first casino to open its doors in Maryland since September 2010, it has consistently drawn crowds. With a massive 75,000 sq ft area dedicated to gaming, the casino boasts over 1,500 slot machines, various table games, and a poker room with ten tables, offering an exciting playground for gaming devotees. In the face of stiff competition from casinos in neighboring states such as Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Atlantic City, Hollywood Casino Perryville is constantly innovating to stay ahead. Now, under the management of Penn Entertainment, visitors can look forward to even more thrilling options, including future online betting opportunities.

MGM National Harbor

The MGM National Harbor is an opulent casino hotel nestled just outside the bustling city of Washington, D.C. This $1.4 billion establishment stands as a magnificent beacon in the area, offering an unparalleled experience to its guests. With an impressive array of 308 rooms and suites, the hotel promises a stay steeped in luxury. Vici Properties owns this architectural marvel, while MGM Resorts International manages its operations. The construction of MGM National Harbor spanned four years, finally opening its grand doors in December 2016. The development license was awarded to MGM Resorts International in December 2013, outbidding competitors Penn National Gaming and Greenwood Racing.

Washington D.C.’s skyline is adorned with some of the world’s most striking structures, and MGM National Harbor adds to that splendor. Its pristine white exterior harmonizes with the iconic marble edifices scattered across the capital. The layout of the casino, designed by HKS, Inc., mirrors the organization of the National Mall through its central axis arrangement. SmithGroupJJR, the project’s architect of record, meticulously crafted this 23-story hotel complete with 308 rooms, 135,000 square feet of gaming space, retail outlets, a sumptuous spa, and seven distinct restaurants. However, the pièce de résistance of the casino is undoubtedly the grand 3,000-seat theater, featuring seven VIP suites and 27,000 square feet of event space.

Art enthusiasts in the Washington metropolitan area will find the MGM National Harbor resort a veritable treasure trove. This stunning resort hosts a rich collection of art, the result of collaborations with an array of artists, sculptors, and photographers. The permanent collection draws inspiration from the local culture and heritage and exhibits a wide variety of art. Upon entering from the west, visitors are greeted by a magnificent 25-by-15-foot iron archway. This archway integrates ‘found objects’ such as farming tools, children’s toys, wheels, and axes and is designed by the legendary Bob Dylan. The collection boasts artwork by renowned artists, including Alice Aycock, Charles Hinman, Chul Hyun Ahn, John Safer, Liao Yibai, Margaret Boozer, Martha Jackson Jarvis, Sam Gilliam, and Terry O’Neill. This art collection unquestionably enriches the mesmerizing experience at the MGM National Harbor resort.

Ocean Downs

Ocean Downs, a noteworthy casino and harness racing venue in Berlin, Maryland, is a site of interest. Currently, under the ownership and management of Churchill Downs Inc., this track bears an intriguing history since its inauguration in 1949 by the Ocean Downs Racing Association. Initial years marked some struggles, prompting a change in ownership to the proprietors of Rosecroft Raceway and a subsequent name change to Delmarva Downs. The reins were later handed over to property developer Mark Vogel, but Ocean Downs, unfortunately, declared bankruptcy in 1991, leading to its acquisition by Californian businessperson Fred Weisman.

Following Weisman’s passing in 1994, the Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners Association (CSOA) and Bally Entertainment jointly purchased the racetrack. Despite reverting to its original name, financial issues continued to besiege Ocean Downs. Bally Entertainment offloaded the track, hoping for the eventual legalization of slot machines, a development that only materialized after William Rickman took over in 2000. In 2008, Worcester County voters finally sanctioned slot machines, paving the way for a $45-million casino at Ocean Downs in 2010.

Initially approved for 800 machines, the casino launched with 750. Undaunted, Ocean Downs proceeded with expansion plans, incorporating ten table games and a new eatery in a 50,000-square-foot extension. It was not until 2017 that the track changed hands again, being acquired by Churchill Downs and Saratoga Casino Holdings. Churchill Downs eventually assumed complete control in 2018.

Online Casinos In Annapolis, Maryland

The legality of online casinos in the USA is a complex issue, primarily due to the jurisdictional nature of gambling laws. As of 2023, there is no federal law that prohibits online casino gaming or online gambling of any kind, which was not always the case (Gambling Industry News). However, the Federal Wire Act has made online gambling technically illegal in most states, as it prohibits the operation of certain types of betting businesses in the U.S. Despite this, some states have moved forward with legalizing online gambling. West Virginia was one of the first states to legalize online sports betting and casinos (New York Post). Other states where online casinos are legal include New Jersey, Delaware, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut (Play USA). In contrast, some states still consider online casinos illegal, and this status may change as new legislation is introduced (Action Network). Regulation of online casinos also varies by state. For instance, online casinos are regulated in only seven states – Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and West Virginia (Let’s Gamble USA). This regulation includes licensing requirements and oversight to ensure fair play and protection for consumers.

Turning our attention to Annapolis, Maryland, the current state law does not authorize online casinos. While conventional land-based casinos are legal and subject to thorough regulation in Maryland, these laws do not yet extend to online platforms. The state, however, has embraced online wagering and daily fantasy sports, with several betting apps slated for launch in November 2022. Moreover, the state lottery provides a Maryland Lottery App, enabling players to access digital subscriptions, scan tickets, and receive jackpot alerts. The advent of online sports betting is set to transform Maryland’s gambling sector, with major players like DraftKings already showing interest in the local market.

Online casino gambling sparks considerable debate in Maryland. At present, engaging in online slots, table games, or poker is illegal within the state. However, given the substantial revenue generated by online casinos in neighboring states like New Jersey, Maryland legislators may contemplate integrating online casinos into the state’s gambling portfolio in the future. For now, the focus of state lawmakers is on rolling out online and retail sports betting. Once this groundwork is laid, the next logical progression could be the legalization of online casinos. In the interim, Maryland online casino enthusiasts can partake in free slots, table games, and poker at numerous sweepstakes casinos. The future of online casino gambling in Maryland remains undetermined, but the potential legalization of online casinos is something to watch for those keen on the state’s gambling scene.

Previous Article

Baysox See Series Finale Slip Away To Sea Dogs

Next Article

Daily News Brief | August 7, 2023

You might be interested in …