Bets on gambling paid off this fall. Voters approved the hotly contested Question 7 in November, clearing the way for table games at Maryland casinos and a sixth location for gambling — and setting off rippling changes in the states still-young industry. Maryland Live Casino at Arundel Mills immediately said it would hire 1,200 extra employees and add table games as soon as possible. Caesars Entertainment said its Baltimore casino — planned to open in 2014 — would have an additional 500 workers for the same reason, with the structure itself upgraded from a Harrahs to a Horseshoe brand. And that was just the start. This month the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission approved round-the-clock hours for the casinos, plus looser rules on lending to gamblers. Maryland Live switched to never-close mode Thursday. With so much money at stake, its little wonder that Question 7 was the most expensive political campaign in the states history. Proponents (largely MGM Resorts International, which hopes to operate the sixth casino at National Harbor in Prince Georges County) and opponent Penn National Gaming (anxious about the effect on its casino in Charles Town, W.Va.) shelled out more than $90 million.
Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore Sun