BY DAVID ANDERSON, Record staff
3:31 PM EST, February 27, 2013
On March 7, Hollywood Casino Perryville will be the first gambling emporium in Maryland to open its table games – pending approval by the state legislature.
Casino officials announced Tuesday on the Cecil County establishment's Facebook page the table games would debut next week.
A follow-up announcement was posted Wednesday afternoon that the casino would begin operating 24 hours a day throughout the week, also beginning March 7.
In both posts, the casino operators stressed: "pending final legislative approval."
"We were the first casino to open [in Maryland] and we'll be the first casino with table games," Jennifer Miglionico, director of marketing, said Wednesday.
Once the state's approval process is cleared, casino patrons will be able to play poker, craps, roulette and blackjack at 20 tables around the facility, as well as slot machines that have been in place since Hollywood Casino opened in 2010.
"We're really excited," Miglionico continued. "We're going to be a full-scale casino now."
The casino is across the Susquehanna River from Harford County, just off I-95 at the Perryville-Port Deposit interchange with Route 222.
It is operated by Penn National Gaming of Wyomissing, Pa., which also operates Rosecroft Raceway in Prince George's County, as well as 27 other gaming operations in the U.S. and Canada.
The members of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission approved Hollywood Casino's request for table games this week, but commission members must still conduct an observation of the operations, The Baltimore Sun reported Tuesday.
Maryland voters approved Question 7 in November, which allowed casino operators to have table games, and for the expansion of video lottery games in the state.
Before Question 7 was passed, Maryland's three casinos – Hollywood Casino, Maryland Live! in Anne Arundel County and the Casino at Ocean Downs Racetrack on the Eastern Shore – could only operate slot machines.
Maryland Live! officials plan to debut table games in early April.
The Maryland General Assembly's Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review must give final approval to detailed regulations for the various table games, according to Erica Palmisano, assistant director of communications for the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.
The regulations include rules for how cards should be shuffled and dealt, how bets should be placed, how a roulette wheel should be operated and many more, according to documents provided by Palmisano.
At Hollywood Casino, Miglionico said operators "haven't had to go through any construction" to accommodate the table games. Some slot machines, which were not in high demand among players, were moved with the permission of the state, which owns the gaming devices.
"With [the state] allowing us to remove those games per our request, we had no problem having room for tables," Miglionico said.
Hollywood Casino is open 24 hours a day on the weekends, but once the table games debut at 8 a.m. on March 7, the casino will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Having table games and being open 24/7 will also allow the casino to add about 100 jobs to its workforce.
"As long as we're approved, once we open up for table games on March 7 we're going to be 24 hours," Miglionico said.