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Here’s a first look at Baltimore’s Horseshoe Casino’s expanded outdoor gaming space

Daylight streamed in the new room at the Horseshoe Casino on Thursday afternoon, as well as some crisp December air. That’s because the just-unveiled $15 million terrace is open to the outside.

The new 10,000-square-foot space — which is equipped with large overhead heaters — is a response to customers who preferred to see some sky or wanted to smoke while they made their bets.

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“This is a huge upgrade,” said Randy Conroy, the Horseshoe’s general manager. “We had some small patios before but they weren’t the nicest. We saw that they were a draw for a lot of customers so this is for them.”

The expanded space includes 174 slot machines, 16 live table game, 15 video poker machines and a patio bar. It’s the latest upgrade to the five-year-old casino and the newest offering in a nascent entertainment district that spans from the Russell Street building to the Ravens’ football stadium a few blocks away.

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The casino is operated by a subsidiary of Ceasars Entertainment Corp., which spent millions to buy properties in the area along with Caves Valley Partners, and the group has been working to bring more attractions to what’s being called the Southern Gateway Entertainment District.

Some small venues have opened already. And there are several attractions pledged to spaces in and around the district, including the high-tech driving range Topgolf and a 4,000-seat concert venue called Paramount Baltimore.

The new developments will largely replace old warehouses, vacant property and Ravens’ parking lots along Warner Street. The BARCS animal shelter will move to Cherry Hill. Nearby, other developers also plan to reopen another concert hall, the storied Hammerjacks, and a local brewery, Checkerspot Brewing Co., opened last year.

The state has six casinos, and records show that the operations hit a sales record in fiscal 2019 at $1.3 billion, with a portion of profits set aside for education, horse racing and other groups.

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The Horseshoe has consistently trailed competitors MGM National Harbor in Prince George’s County and Live Casino & Hotel in Anne Arundel County. MGM took in almost $54 million in November, the Live casino had revenue of nearly $53 million and the Horseshoe had more than $18 million.

Conroy said all of the development pledged in the entertainment district should boost sales for the casino and produce new taxes for the city in general.

“I think it will all have a big impact,” he said. “We’re creating a whole new entertainment district here and over time it’ll be a real destination.”

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