Maryland Live! Keeping Up with the Jones’

Maryland Live CasinoMaryland Live! Casino in Hanover, MD became the state’s most popular gambling destination shortly after it officially opened its doors on June 6, 2012. Last month, the casino generated more than twice the revenue of its nearest competitor, Horseshoe Casino Baltimore. But with new competition on the horizon, Maryland Live! is look to shore up its dominance with a new luxury hotel.

The operator broke ground on the 17-story hotel structure Tuesday morning, hosting a big ceremony to celebrate the monumental event. All manner of finely-tailored suits were on hand to commemorate the occasion, including casino execs, local politicians, PR specialists, and – of course – a throng of media personnel.

“It will be a 17-story glass tower, the tallest building in all of Anne Arundel County,” extolled Cordish Companies Chairman, David Cordish, who was donning a hard hat and wielding a shiny new Live!-branded shovel. “And let me tell you, the rooms are going to be first class!”

310 guestrooms and a smattering of top-level penthouse suites, equipped to the nines gas fireplaces, exorbitant chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling windows, are just the tip of the iceberg for Maryland Live! Casino. The hotel will also feature full-service bars, a spa and a 1,500-seat concert venue with a professional stage and regular live music performance on the schedule.

Keeping Up with the Jones’

The addition of the new luxury hotel will convert Maryland Live! Casino into an integrated resort, much like the $1.2 billion “destination” resort, MGM National Harbor, that’s slated to open in Prince George’s County – just 45 minutes to the south – later this year.

MGM National Harbor

Up until now, none of Maryland’s five casinos have been classified as destination properties. But Maryland Live! is well aware that a substantial percentage of its patrons are coming in from the south; areas like Washington D.C. and Virginia. Those same customers could easily shorten their trip by visiting the new MGM National Harbor when it opens its doors.

Customer acquisition and retention is the key to any successful business, and the folks at Cordish Companies, parent of Maryland Live! casino, are under no false pretenses that, without an integrated resort experience, their present success could be swallowed up by the new Las Vegas-style property from MGM Resorts International.

Despite the obvious threat of competition, Mr. Cordish says assured everyone that he has no apprehensions, because his is a family-owned, private operation where the customer always comes first.

“We weren’t and still aren’t worried because we have family and it’s a different ballgame. We don’t answer to Wall Street,” said Cordish. “We do what’s best for our customers.”

Maryland Live Casino Revenue Up, For Now

According to the latest revenue report from the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission, Maryland Live! generated $55,904,771 in slot machines and table games revenue in the month of August, 2016. That’s more than double the $27,716,141 generated by Horseshoe Casino Baltimore in the same period.

Although the opening of the Horseshoe in Baltimore in August 2014 was expected to pull revenue from the Hanover location, that wasn’t really the case. Maryland Live! grossed $57.3 million in August 2014; a drop of just $1.4 million over the last two years, despite the fact that the Horseshoe is actually doing quite well as the state’s second most productive gambling facility.

Whether that status will hold up in 2017 is a much bigger question. It will certainly be interesting to compare the revenue results at the Live! casino with those from MGM National Harbor in the months following its grand opening, scheduled for December 2016.

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