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A rendering of the smoking patio under construction at Live Casino & Hotel at Arundel Mills.
A rendering of the smoking patio under construction at Live Casino & Hotel at Arundel Mills. (Handout courtesy of Live Casino)

Live Casino & Hotel is constructing a large smoking patio that it says will distinguish it from its rivals by offering table games, slot machines and a bar, all in an outdoor space.

Smoking is barred inside Maryland’s six casinos. But the patio, called “Orchid,” will be open on one side, enabling Live to permit cigarette and cigar smoking.

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The patio, expected to open in mid-April, is 8,500 square feet — about the size of two basketball courts side by side.

Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, Live’s rival, has a number of smoking decks – small outdoor areas with slot machines. Rocky Gap Casino Resort in Western Maryland also has slots in an outdoor smoking deck.

It appears there won't be any indoor cigar-smoking in the new MGM casino at National Harbor after all.

Live, located in Hanover and adjacent to Arundel Mills mall, said its patio — in an area that was once a buffet — will be different.

“It’s a full casino experience on a patio, not just a couple of slot machines thrown on a patio,” said Rob Norton, Live’s president. “You’ll be able to play almost all the table games out here. You’ll have a full-service bar.”

The design will be orchid-themed.

“You’ll feel like you’re in an outdoor garden,” Norton said. The patio will feature a waterfall and humidors for premium cigars.

Maryland's casinos, like other establishments that serve alcohol, fall under the no-smoking provisions of the state's Clean Indoor Air Act.

Outdoor casino smoking terraces have drawn the scrutiny of health advocates. While some clean-air groups say the decks are preferable to indoor smoking, others complain that they are workplace hazards nonetheless.

Anti-smoking groups say permitting smoking in any casino area — even one partially outdoors — exposes workers to secondhand smoke.

But Norton said: “I think as adults we all have the ability to make reasonable decisions for ourselves. I’m personally not a smoker, but I don’t begrudge those that enjoy it.”

Live said the featured table games will include blackjack, baccarat and roulette.

Live, which has received permission for the patio from state regulators, generates more revenue than any state casino except MGM National Harbor. For all of 2017, Live generated $545 million in revenue, while MGM produced nearly $609 million.

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