- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
With millions continuing to pour into heated ad war over expanding gambling in the state, the newly-appointed general manager of the forthcoming casino in Baltimore touted the jobs that will be created in the city.
The casino will bring 1,200 permanent jobs — including managers, technicians, cooks, mechanics and IT specialists — said Chad Barnhill, who has worked for Caesars for 18 years, most recently as assistant manager of a casino in Louisiana.
“If Question 7 passes in November, an additional 500 table games employees will be at this property,” Barnhill said.
The project will generate about 2,000 construction jobs, according to Barnhill.
Caesars Entertainment, which will run the Baltimore casino under its Harrah’s brand, announced Barnhill’s appointment Tuesday at the casino’s future site — now an empty lot with a view of M&T Bank Stadium.
The casino would focus on hiring locally, Barnhill said. Employees from other Caesars casinos will be brought in to train the new staff, but would then return to their home states, he said.
Voters will decide in November whether to approve an expansion to Maryland’s gaming program, which will include allowing table games at the state’s five approved casino locations and allowing a major new casino, to be located in Prince George’s County.
In recent weeks, groups on both sides of the issue have poured nearly $24 million into an intense ad campaign. MGM Resorts International, which wants to put a destination resort and casino at National Harbor, has given $8.4 million to a group supporting the measure, while the Caesars-led investment group behind the Baltimore casino has given $2.3 million. Penn National Gaming, which owns the Hollywood Casinos in Perryville and Charles Town, W.Va., has given $13 million to an opposing group.
Commercials run by the opposition argue that more gambling won’t necessarily mean more money for Maryland schools, while supporters argue that Penn National is just trying to protect its existing casinos from new competition.
Approving the expansion would keep the Maryland’s casinos competitive with those in other states, said Christian Johansson, Maryland’s secretary of business and economic development, who attended the announcement Tuesday.
“When we passed this in 2007, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaware didn’t have table games,” he said. “Now they do. So it’s a different marketplace.”
Baltimore Del. Melvin Stukes (D-Dist. 44) said he wasn’t concerned about the anti-expansion campaign funded by Penn National influencing voters.
“People know the truth,” he said. “They know where the money’s coming from.”