Construction to begin next summer

BALTIMORE - We've all seen the barren block south of M&T Bank Stadium and at times, many have wondered aloud if the slots casino would ever happen.

On Tuesday, Harrah's unfurled a giant banner signaling its arrival, and it's launched a website that gives us our first look at the high-scale, high-dollar casino.

"It's only going to be a few months from now where you're going to see cranes and you're going to see over 2,000 workers working on this site," said John Payne of Caesars Entertainment.

At a projected cost of almost $400 million, Harrah's Baltimore will have 110,000 square feet of gaming space along with a steakhouse, a 400-seat buffet, a 5,700 square foot sports bar and restaurant along with a food court.

Harrah's says it also will bring in the largest influx of jobs Baltimore has seen in 30 years.

"We're prepared to move forward with 3,750 slot machines and we're excited about it and hopefully Question 7 passes, which will allow us to add an additional 500 table games jobs on top of the 1,200 jobs that we're already planning for," said General Manager Chad Barnhill.

If it seems like Harrah's is openly lobbying for voters to add a sixth casino and table games in November, well… it is.

That would help it draw from the full gaming market, and Maryland Delegate Melvin Stukes says it's long over due.

"All the other casinos have table games.  We would be irresponsible again to build a brand new facility and want to try to keep the money in the state of Maryland and don't provide the services and other things that come with it and table games is part of that."

Harrah's Baltimore and Maryland Live Casino at Arundel Mills Mall have already received assurances they'll receive financial compensation for any business lost to a proposed sixth casino at National Harbor in Prince George's County.

Construction is scheduled to begin on Baltimore's casino next summer, and it should be completed in 2014.

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