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Exterior construction completed at Arundel Mills casino

Developers celebrated the completion of major construction at the $500 million Maryland Live! Casino at Arundel Mills mall Wednesday morning, urging the public to save their money for gambling.

To mark the end of the construction phase of the 4,750-slot machine casino, built by the Baltimore-based Cordish Cos. which is scheduled to open in early June, the casino's final 45-foot steel beam was hoisted by a crane about 100 feet in the air. The so-called "topping off" is a tradition in the construction business.

"To say this is a happy day for everybody at the Cordish Cos. is putting it mildly," said company chairman David Cordish, who signed the beam along with several officials, including Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold, and Stephen L. Martino, director of the state lottery. "Now we're on a countdown. … Save your money because we want you to spend it here."

The casino is scheduled to open within the first ten days of June at a limited capacity with 3,000 of the slot machines installed. The remaining 1,750 should be finished by the fall. With the casino and its five-story parking structure completed, workers are now constructing the building's interior.

After the event, Cordish dismissed discussion of a casino in Prince George's County. A bill is pending in the General Assembly that would allow a slots casino and table games in Prince George's County if approved by voters. Cordish said a casino in Prince George's, coupled with his facility at Arundel Mills and a planned casino in Baltimore, would "make Maryland like Atlantic City."

He said despite efforts by Senate President Thomas V. "Mike" Miller to push the proposal, he believes "It's absolutely dead on arrival. The people in Prince George's don't want it."

Cordish had a sunnier outlook on table games.

"There is zero question in my mind that we'll get them. Whether it will be this year or next year, I don't have a crystal ball," he said. "We've created hundreds of more jobs for the state and table games will create even more jobs and even more revenue, so they'll do it."

nicole.fuller@baltsun.com

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