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Ocean Downs casino poised for record month

The Casino at Ocean Downs, the Eastern Shore gambling facility where revenue doubles during the summer tourist season, may be poised for a record-breaking month.

The new poker room at the Maryland Live Casino will open on Wednesday, featuring 52 tables for games such as Texas Hold ’Em, Omaha and 7-Card Stud.

Casino General Manager Joe Cavilla on Thursday told the Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Commission the casino is on pace to generate more than $6 million this month for the first time since opening in 2011.

“It’s panning out to be our best month ever,” Cavilla said.

Ocean Downs may set a record despite being the only Maryland casino that has not added table games such as black jack and roulette. The casino’s 800 slot machines generated about $5.8 million last month. The casino kept more than $2.5 million of that total and the Education Trust Fund received roughly $2.3 million.

Smaller disbursements were made to Worcester County and the horse racing industry.

Cavilla said the casino was seeking approval from Worcester County to roughly double the facility’s size. He said more slots would likely be part of that expansion, and table games were also being considered.

Ocean Downs is not the only Maryland casino upping its square footage. Maryland Live Casino at Arundel Mills mall, the state gambling powerhouse in Hanover, plans to open a two-floor poker room on Wednesday, the latest in a seemingly nonstop series of expansions and renovations at the 14-month-old facility.

The poker room will have 52 tables where poker games such as Texas Hold ’Em, Omaha and 7-Card Stud will be offered. Tournaments will also take place in the 14,800-square-foot addition to the 330,000-square-foot casino, which already has 122 table games and more than 4,300 slot machines.

The Anne Arundel County casino generated $52.4 million last month, nearly 600 percent more than the second-place casino in the state, Hollywood Casino Perryville in Cecil County.

Travis G. Lamb, Maryland Live’s senior vice president and chief financial officer, said the casino was already setting its sights on out-of-state customers, including by advertising in in-flight airline magazines. The casino has taken a chunk of business away from former East Coast gambling stronghold Atlantic City, N.J., also, Lamb said.

“We see a lot of Atlantic City customers are coming to their convenience property option,” he said.