Norton, president and general manager of the Cordish Cos.-owned property, said he will "move as quickly as possible" to get table games in operation. The casino is interviewing thousands of potential employees this week and will begin minor construction to reconfigure the gaming floor in January.

Hiring will continue with job fairs seeking experienced table game dealers in Philadelphia and Atlantic City, N.J., and new employees will begin applying for state-mandated licenses by February. The state has committed to making 16 hires to process those applications. Maryland Live plans to stay open 24 hours a day starting Dec. 27.

Hollywood Casino, which is owned by Penn National Gaming Inc., and Ocean Downs requested permission to stay open from Friday morning until Sunday night, but will otherwise continue to close on weeknights until they feel they can support extra hours.

For Hollywood, officials said that could come as soon as table games are introduced. The casino has held open houses for those interested in attending the dealer school it will run, and plans to hire 100 to 120 new employees in hopes of a spring launch.

Ocean Downs, which cannot accommodate table games without a renovation, might ask for more hours of operation during the busy summer season, Cavilla said. He said the casino was not ready to reveal when it would begin construction and had no timetable in place for including table games.

Both table games and 24-hour operations were approved in November's election, when 52 percent of Marylanders voted for expanded gambling after a hotly contested campaign in which supporters and opponents spent more than $93 million.

Penn National fought Question 7, saying it would not benefit Maryland's schools to the extent supporters said it would. MGM, which hopes to open the Prince George's casino, led a group that accused Penn National of trying to protect its interests in nearby states.

Penn National has filed a lawsuit contending that the referendum should be thrown out, and many of the state's casino interests have intervened in the suit.

chris.korman@baltsun.com

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