With the grand opening of the Ocean Downs Casino, Maryland now boasts 2,200 slot machines statewide. The new gaming facility, located just a few miles outside Ocean City, joins Perryville's Hollywood Casino as the only two slots sites in the state.
When the doors of the $45 million facility opened to the general public, a mob of hundreds rushed in, some with cash in hand. They quickly filled the seats in front of the 750 slot machines inside.
Some say the casino will help breathe new life into the local economy.
"I honestly feel that they are going to come to town and help the hotel business, the restaurant business, the Boardwalk business is really going to flourish," local William Garlitz says.
Maryland's Governor, Martin OMalley, was on hand to cut the ribbon. Although he praised the aesthetics of the facility, and was optimistic about the revenue it will bring in for the public school system and the local municipalities, he focused on another point.
"It's going to create 236 jobs here on the [Eastern] shore", he says. "There's nothing more important, especially at this juncture in our nation's history and our state's history than a job."
Three other slots sites have stalled for a variety of reasons. Maryland can allow a total of 15,000 slot machines across the state.