A New Casino Opens in Maryland, With More to Come

Rocky Gap offers slots, blackjack, roulette, craps, and more.

By: Carol Ross Joynt

A new 24/7 gambling casino has opened its doors in western Maryland, bringing the number of casinos operating in the state to four. A fifth is scheduled to open in Baltimore, and proposals have been made to develop a casino in Prince George’s County.

Rocky Gap Casino & Resort started taking bets this week. It was originally developed 15 years ago as a multimillion-dollar taxpayer-and-bond-funded resort, but never really caught on and got hit with labels like “boondoggle.” It was sold last year and transformed into a gambling destination by its new owners, Minnesota-based Lakes Entertainment, which added 550 slot machines and ten gaming tables, and renovated the lobby, rooms, restaurants, and golf course.

“We are excited to open the first destination casino resort in Maryland and the surrounding communities,” said general manager Scott Just in a statement. “Our team is experienced in gaming and hospitality.”

The other three Maryland casinos are Hollywood Casino in Perryville, Maryland Live! in Hanover, and Ocean Downs in Berlin. The Horseshoe Casino is expected to open next year in Baltimore.

In the Washington area, the most anticipated gambling project is whatever will eventually be approved as the sole gambling spot for Prince George’s County. So far, three companies have submitted proposals to the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency to win the casino license. MGM Resorts International and the Peterson Company put in a bid to develop an almost billion-dollar casino at National Harbor on the Potomac River in Prince George’s County. MGM says the casino would be comparable to the Mirage and Bellagio hotels, which it operates in Las Vegas.

The other proposals include a $700,000 outline from Penn National Gambling to turn Rosecroft Raceway into a Hollywood Casino resort, and one from Greenwood Racing, which proposes a casino on a large tract of land on Indian Head Highway.

The gaming agency was mostly mum about the proposals and when it would announce the successful bid.