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Baltimore Casino Opens With Pomp, Champagne, Celebrities

It was a "lucky day" for those at the opening of the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore on Tuesday.
Matt Bush/WAMU
It was a "lucky day" for those at the opening of the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore on Tuesday.
At the casino's opening, waiters on tricycles were delivering champagne to guests. (Matt Bush/WAMU)

The newest casino in Maryland is open this morning. Following a grand ceremony last night, the Horseshoe Casino opened in Baltimore. The only question now is how the Caesars-owned facility will fare in what's becoming a very crowded gaming market in the state.

For grand opening ceremonies, it was all one would expect. A red carpet, waiters on massive tricycles serving wine, a spinning acrobat pouring glasses of champagne, dancers rappelling down the side of the casino showing off moves, plenty of celebrity sightings like super chef and TV host Guy Fieri, who has a restaurant at the casino.

"You're a very food-centric town. You're a big small town. You're right on the water. You love seafood. Crab fanatics. My kind of people!" Fieri said.

There was also NFL Hall of Famer Lynn Swann, who sits on the Caesars board and spent his playing career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the hated rival of the Baltimore Ravens, whose stadium casts its shadow on the casino.

"That will continue. But when you're off the field, you can relax, have fun, and have a great time," Swann said.

And as the fireworks thundered to the all-too-appropriate musical choice of Daft Punk's "Get Lucky," the casino opened. Now comes the hard part. Drawing customers to a casino that sits less than 10 miles away from the state's largest gaming facility: Maryland Live! at Arundel Mills Mall. There's also another large casino some 40 miles north of Baltimore in Perryville, but Horseshoe Casino General Manager Chad Barnhill is coolly confident they'll stand out from the rest.

"We compete in every market that we're in. We have our total rewards program and we already know that we have over 1 million customers from the state of Maryland who have been to one of our other Caesar's entertainment properties," Barnhill says. "And we're going to hang our hat on our customer service. Anybody can go play slot machines or table games at a lot of different places, but we're going to have the best customer service around."

More competition is coming in two years when an MGM Grand casino is scheduled to open at National Harbor in Prince George's County, giving Maryland it's fourth major casino along the state's Interstate-95 corridor.

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