BERLIN — The new and and rebranded Ocean Downs Casino opened its long-awaited table games expansion last weekend to rave reviews, starting a new chapter for the gaming facility near Berlin.
For the last several months, casino officials had been scrambling to complete the new 35,000-square-foot expansion to accommodate real table games at the Casino at Ocean Downs, now known simply as Ocean Downs Casino. The finishing touches were completed last week and the new expansion had a soft opening last Saturday before opening to the general public on New Year’s Eve.
The Ocean Downs Casino 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 years plus, the casino has operated with around 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 table games to the Ocean Downs Casino and the process has been a long one. While Maryland’s other booming casinos have long offered table games, the Ocean Downs Casino had 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, with the completion of the 35,000-square-foot expansion just to the north of the existing structure, the Ocean Downs Casino now offers traditional blackjack, three-card poker, ultimate Texas hold’em, craps and roulette. In addition, the expansion has allowed the casino to add about 100 new slot machines. General Manager Bobbi Sample this week said the opening weekend was a huge success.
“We were very pleased overall with the first weekend of operation of table games,” she said. “We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on the new look of the whole casino as well as on the table game operation.”
Sample said the new table games were well received during the holiday weekend and the momentum has continued this week. There will almost certainly be a honeymoon of sorts with the dreary days of winter still ahead, but for now, the new and improved casino continues to create a buzz.
“The tables were very busy all weekend and the interest in them has continued since the holiday weekend ended,” she said. “It gives a whole new energy to the casino.”
In addition to the table games, the expansion has allowed for the creation of a new restaurant and other amenities to allow the newly-branded casino to compete with other gaming facilities in Maryland and across the region.
“On New Year’s Eve, we used our new event room for the first time and hosted a VIP party which was very well received,” said Sample. “Our new restaurant, Poseiden’s Pub, will be open later this month. We even have a new logo and have changed our name to Ocean Downs Casino.”
Sample said the expansion process has been a long one and not without its challenges. Frequent visitors to the casino have recently witnessed the growing pains associated with the transition to table games, but Sample said it will all be worth it when they visit the new Ocean Downs Casino.
“While all of the change has been hectic and disruptive, the final product has reinvigorated our whole team,” she said. “We are looking forward to this new chapter.”