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Vegas atmosphere comes to Hanover

David Cordish said Maryland Live! at Arundel Mills mall would be the state’s first first class, world class casino.

On opening night, as VIPs pour through the 3,200-slot machine casino’s doors in advance of the official 10 p.m. opening, Cordish is hitting that mark. Maryland State Lottery Agency Director Stephen L. Martino thinks so, too.

The casino will “set the standard on the east coast,” Martino said.

Costumed characters roam about the parking lot, leaning down to car windows as grinning drivers wait in line to get into the 5,000-space garage that adjoins the casino.

Inside, women in glamorous gowns and dramatic makeup stroll down aisles between humming, blinking slot machines. Two others, surrounded by moving tables piled to their edge with various sweets, patrol a main walkway. Behind the casino’s main bar, two dancers swing to the beat of popular music played over the casino’s sound system.

The casino’s customers aren’t exactly dressed like they’re out for a night at the Arundel Mills mall, either. The couple hundred VIPs, who started showing up at about 6:30 p.m., look as though they are attending a Hollywood movie premiere, with many women wearing sparkling dresses and some men sporting sharp tuxedos.

Meanwhile, a line several hundred people long has lined up for general admission — the first of them lined up just after 2 p.m.