Casino Hopes To Open Table Games Addition By Year’s End

Casino Hopes To Open Table Games Addition By Year’s End
A 35,000-square-foot expansion is currently under construction at the Casino at Ocean Downs to make way for table games. Photo by Shawn Soper

BERLIN — Table games could be coming to the Casino at Ocean Downs before the end of the year, casino officials confirmed this week.

The Casino at Ocean Downs along Route 589 near Ocean Pines opened for business in September 2011. At that time, it was the first to open of four original locations approved by the Maryland General Assembly in different geographic areas around the state. For the last six-plus years, the Casino at Ocean Downs has operated with 800 video gaming machines, including traditional slot machines and simulated video table-style games such as blackjack and roulette, for example.

The plan all along was to add traditional casino table games to the Casino at Ocean Downs and the process has been a long one. While Maryland’s other booming casinos have long offered table games, the Casino at Ocean Downs has remained the only official gaming facility among the now-six in the state to offer only slots and electronic versions of the popular casino games.

However, progress continues on the roughly 35,000-square-foot expansion of the Casino at Ocean Downs to the north of the existing facility. If all goes according to plan, the expansion of the facility could be completed by the end of the year and the first cards could be dealt before the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, according to Casino at Ocean Downs General Manager Bobbi Sample.

“Construction of the expansion is moving forward,” she said this week. “Our goal is to open the expansion and table games by New Year’s Eve this year.”

Meanwhile, the Casino at Ocean Downs is now in the process of hiring dealers for the new table games. On Wednesday, the casino held a table games job fair at Wor-Wic Community College to accept applications for potential dealer positions at the Berlin facilities. Through a partnership with Wor-Wic Community College, the project is funded by the state’s EARN Maryland grant program and administered by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. Sample explained how the partnership with Wor-Wic and the state could connect potential candidates to dealer jobs in the future Casino at Ocean Downs’ expansion.

“The job fair is actually to recruit students for our new dealer school,” she said. “This enables us to offer these classes tuition-free to those interested in learning how to be a dealer. When students successfully complete a class in blackjack, they will have the opportunity to audition to become a dealer here at Ocean Downs. They will continue their education at the school and learn how to deal other games and expand their opportunities.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.