Live Casino & Hotel in Hanover teamed up with the American Gaming Association Thursday to promote business opportunities for small, minority-owned firms and highlight the industry's economic impact in Maryland.
Association representatives are touring U.S. casinos to highlight gambling's impact on local businesses. Events at the Hanover facility included a minority business outreach fair and panel discussion with industry, state and county officials led by Donald Fry, president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee.
"I've seen firsthand the positive impact the industry has had in Maryland" in creating jobs and spurring economic development and tourism, Fry said.
The casino has spent about $100 million for services and products from local and minority-owned businesses and continues to seek such vendors out, said Rob Norton, president of global gaming for casino owner Cordish Cos.,
Panel member Tony Hill, a managing partner of Annapolis-based office furniture supplier Edwards and Hill, said the casino has given his business a boost.
"There are lots of clients where you have some work and have to move on ... but they continue to make sure they are good partners," Hill said. "It helps small businesses like mine to create a pipeline of business, which is what we need to be able to grow."
The U.S. gambling industry supports 350,000 small-business jobs, according to research by Spectrum Gaming Group for the association. The report looked at nearly a dozen markets in the U.S. to assess gambling's direct and indirect impact on small local businesses. It found gambling has the largest impact in small to midsized communities.
The five-year-old Live Casino employs 3,000 people and was the top taxpayer in the state last year, casino officials said.
Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the gambling association, said the group is trying to correct misconceptions and "shine a light on what the industry's doing."