The owners of Maryland Live casino in Arundel Mills have started planning a roughly $200 million hotel and spa, betting on a successful pairing of hospitality and gambling that goes back to the early days of legalized casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.

David S. Cordish, chairman and CEO of the Baltimore-based development company whose affiliate owns Maryland Live, said the hotel was part of the original lease with the property owner, and plans are now taking shape.


"That will be a Phase Two," Cordish said. "We're now turning our attention to it."

The Cordish Cos. have been talking with county officials about it, he said, but no formal plans have been filed yet. He envisions a mid- to high-rise building next to the casino, which draws about 7.5 million visitors a year, with about 300 rooms and a spa offering saunas, facials, mud treatments, "the whole works." Space for meetings also is being considered.


Cordish called it a "major investment" with an estimated cost of about $200 million. That's less than half the cost of building the casino, which was close to $570 million with the addition of table games and a two-level poker room after it opened only with slot machines.

The hotel could open by 2016, Cordish said, the same year an MGM Resorts International casino is expected to open at National Harbor, a convention and resort complex on the Potomac River in Prince George's County, 33 miles away. Cordish said the hotel plan is not in response to National Harbor, which is expected to draw some gamblers away, but it would allow Maryland Live to offer their most loyal customers free rooms.

"It's as much a reward for our base customers," he said. "A lot of these gamblers go when you're sound asleep. It's 2, 3, 4 in the morning. You're going to comp them a room. … We'll be able to add another weapon to our arsenal."

The only other Maryland casino now connected to a hotel is Rocky Gap in Allegany County, which was a struggling state-run resort before it was sold to a private company in 2012 and the casino opened there last year. The hotel offers 200 rooms and a spa.

In Las Vegas, hotels and casinos have been associated from the earliest days of legalized casinos in the 1930s. The Hotel Apache, one of the first establishments built after gambling was legalized, had a casino downstairs and hotel upstairs.

The hotel-casino-spa combination is common in Atlantic City, said Elaine Shapiro Zamansky, a spokeswoman for New Jersey's Casino Redevelopment Investment Authority.

"You're selling people on a getaway, and what do people do on a getaway? They pamper themselves," she said.

The first spas opened with the first new hotels to rise with the legalization of casino gambling in Atlantic City in the 1970s, Zamansky said.

The New Jersey law that legalized casino gambling required that all casinos be connected to hotels of at least 500 rooms. A 2011 law established a license for so-called "boutique" casinos — smaller gambling floors attached to hotels of at least 200 rooms.

New Jersey legislators enshrined the hotel-casino connection in law originally to pursue the goal of reviving tourist and convention trade in Atlantic City, which had thrived as a destination in the 1920s and later faded.

"It goes all the way back," said Matthew Levinson, chairman and CEO of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. "They were looking at how to bring conventions back, how to get this shore town to be a destination resort."

A hotel at Maryland Live would be entering a crowded market that has been flooded with hotel rooms in the past few years, said Connie Del Signore, CEO and president of the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Conference and Visitors Bureau.


Hotel revenues were up about 7 percent in April, she said, but recently "a lot of hotels have had to reduce their rates to compete," given the expansion in supply.

When she started in the position in 2003, there were about 7,200 hotel rooms in the county. Now there are 10,400, roughly 7,500 of which are in the area of Arundel Mills and BWI Marshall Airport.

Still, Del Signore can see how the area could accommodate a Maryland Live hotel.

"That would truly make it a destination," she said.

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