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Weinstein takes a chance on Maryland Live

What life will bring on any given day amid the clanging, flashing slot machines is the luck of the draw for Howard G. Weinstein, general counsel at Maryland Live Casino.

“Every day is different both from the commercial contracts and labor and employment side,” Weinstein said. “You cannot easily plan your days in this industry.”

Weinstein took a gamble on the gambling industry when he became senior vice president and general counsel for the casino in April. He oversees legal affairs at the Hanover casino.

“This is in a start-up mode and start-ups are very exciting,” Weinstein said.

The 3,200 slot machine casino opened June 6 at the Arundel Mills mall. It is slated to be completed this fall with the addition of more slot machines — making for a total of 4,750 — as well as a steakhouse and a stage for concerts.

Weinstein had served as a consultant for the casino since November, before he and several others were interviewed for the permanent in-house counsel position.

“Every industry is much more complex than you would believe it is as an outside observer,” Weinstein said. “And the key is you don’t want customers or patrons to see how different it is. For casino operations, it takes many smart people putting plans together.”

As general counsel, Weinstein is responsible for the casino’s commercial contracts, regulatory compliance and labor and employment law. Weinstein works on human resources issues, organizational development and employee training, he said.

For Weinstein, the biggest difference in his new job in the gambling industry compared to his previous in-house work is dealing with the state and its regulatory role. Maryland’s slots program was ratified in 2008 and it is one of the few states responsible for procuring slot machines for its casinos.

“It permeates much of what we do,” Weinstein said.

When he was working in a consulting position for the casino, Weinstein said he reviewed a lot of commercial contracts and developed employee policies and handbooks. When he officially took the general counsel post, Weinstein said his job remained largely the same.

“I’m embedded in the team where we are all working for a common purpose, so I feel more connected being in-house,” Weinstein said.

Weinstein has worked in human resources and labor relations positions in many different industries. Before joining Maryland Live, Weinstein spent three years at Alcoa Inc., the world’s leading producer of aluminum. Before that, he spent 18 years in publishing, first working for The Baltimore Sun in human resources and then for the Tribune Co. in Chicago as vice president of labor and employee relations for six years.

Weinstein received his undergraduate degree from the Binghamton University in New York then went to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for a master’s degree in labor and industrial relations. He graduated from Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law in 1990.

After finishing law school, he worked for one year at Venable LLP before taking the post at The Sun. Going in-house had always been his plan, Weinstein said.

“Being in-house you have one principal client and you are working as a team towards kind of a common goal,” Weinstein said. “It’s more collegial.”

Howard G. Weinstein

Education: Binghamton University (B.S.); University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (M.A.); Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law (J.D.).

Resides in: Owings Mills.

Most recent vacation: Colorado dude ranch

Favorite Books: Joseph Finder mysteries

Most recently read: “Freeh Report on The Pennsylvania State University” (Judge Louis Freeh).

Favorite quotations: “Never respond to an anonymous letter.” (Yogi Berra); “All families are dysfunctional. The goal is not to be a medalist in the Dysfunctional Family Olympics.” (His wife); “Always check your footing. It’s what connects you to the ground.” (His father.)

What I like best about my current position: Working as a team with incredibly smart, motivated people.

Local hero: William Donald Schaefer (he met his wife through one of Schaefer’s mayoral breakfast meetings).