Cordish executives said more than 100 federal, state and local officials were on hand for the opening. Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young said he was impressed.
"I'm hoping we can get ours in Baltimore to be just as good," Young said, referring to plans for Baltimore to open a casino of its own. "I think this grand opening is really classy, and I hope we can get ours up and running."
By October, 1,550 more machines are to be added to an expanded gambling floor.
The casino opened with a half-dozen restaurants and bars, notably Bobby's Burger Palace, from Food Network celebrity chef Bobby Flay.
The casino expects to pay at least $400 million per year to the state. The state's two previously operating casinos have provided the treasury a total of $172 million since they opened — less than half the tax revenue Maryland Live expects to generate in a single year.
"There's no doubt that there's going to be a significant revenue benefit to the state," said Stephen Martino, director of the Maryland Lottery, which regulates gambling operations.
Hollywood Casino Perryville, in Cecil County, opened in September 2010 and has 1,500 slot machines. The Casino at Ocean Downs, near Ocean City, opened in January 2011 and has about 800 machines.
Two-thirds of each casino's revenue is registered in the state's ledgers, with the bulk going to support education. Cordish and other casino operators have lobbied legislators to approve table games in an effort to boost revenue.
Kirvin Bonner, who lives near the Maryland Live Casino and was checking out its exterior Wednesday afternoon, said he didn't plan to gamble because there are no human dealers.
"That's the worst type of gambling," said Bonner, who added that he was worried about the traffic the casino would generate.
The State Highway Administration expected heavy traffic around Arundel Mills during the opening-night festivities and into the weekend.
Those expectations were fulfilled late Wednesday night as Arundel Mills Circle, the loop that goes around the mall complex, was completely jammed, with drivers using the turn lane as a traffic lane. Frustrated drivers heading toward and away from the casino along the loop honked their horns as minutes passed and they made minimal progress.
Traffic was also backed up on Route 100 westbound beyond the Route 295 overpass, and there was heavy congestion on the Route 100 eastbound ramp onto Route 295 southbound.
Cordish spent $10 million for road improvements — including the addition of turn lanes, widened streets and added signage — but the biggest transit renovation to the area is still under construction.
A new interchange at Arundel Mills Boulevard and Route 295 is scheduled to open Monday, though construction will continue through the summer, according to the State Highway Administration.
Maryland Live Casino hours
Sundays through Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Fridays and Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 4 a.m.