Business Writer//August 31, 2016
//August 31, 2016
Celebrating two years in business, Horseshoe Casino Baltimore announced Wednesday it has contributed $23 million in city taxes and local impact grant funding money in its second year of operation.
The casino has contributed $42 million since it opened in August 2014.
The $23 million includes $9.3 million in local impact grants, 5.5 percent of slot machine revenue that is used for local projects. Some $7.6 million is for neighborhoods within a mile-and-a-half of the casino, known as the “South Baltimore Gateway.” The other $1.7 million is for programs and projects in the greater Pimlico area of northwest Baltimore.
The remaining $13.5 million is a combination of city property taxes and lease payments. The casino had a 13 percent increase in city tax payments and local impact grant funds from its first year. The second year figure includes projections for August.
Nine million people — from all 50 states and abroad — have stepped inside the Horseshoe Casino since it opened, officials said. The casino has booked more than 20,000 room nights at local hotels. It sees in an uptick in one-time, out-of-town visitors during conventions, Ravens games and other major events in the city, General Manager Erin Chamberlin said during a news conference celebrating the casino’s second anniversary.
Nearly 60 percent of the casino’s 1,500 employees are city residents, and more than 200 workers have been promoted within the organization in the past two years, Chamberlin said.
“While I take great pride in the direct financial support the casino provides to the city of Baltimore and the state of Maryland, I’m equally proud of the personal investment our team makes to enhance the communities in which we live and work,” she said.
Horseshoe also is part of the Live Near Your Work program, in which city employers provide grants to help workers buy homes in Baltimore.
“I can very, very proudly say that we have delivered on their promise to empower the homegrown workforce while creating a vibrant entertainment destination that locals and tourists enjoy,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.
The casino is a big part of the mayor’s South Baltimore Gateway Master Plan, which has received more than $14 million to date, the mayor said. That includes about $7 million from Horseshoe’s first year and $8 million from its second year. Impact grants are used to fund projects in nine categories: transportation, the environment, public safety, education, health, community development, the local economy, quality of life and infrastructure.
Of that money, $5.3 million has been used for neighborhood services and projects, $4.3 million for infrastructure investments in the area around the casino and $4.4 million for public safety improvements.
Horseshoe is the fifth casino to open in the state. It will face an increasingly competitive market with MGM National Harbor slated to open later this year. The Baltimore casino also competes with the state’s largest casino, Maryland Live Casino in Arundel Mills, about 10 miles away.
In order to stay competitive, Horseshoe officials say they are focusing on guest services to make the casino a “home away from home” for loyal customers. The casino is regularly changing its offers and opening new restaurants. Horseshoe also has events around the football season, said Chamberlin.n