In a little over a week, the new Horseshoe Casino in downtown Baltimore will open its doors. Ahead of its August 26 grand opening, casino officials hosted members of the media for a sneak-preview.

General Manager Chad Barnhill told reporters that although the casino will not open for a few more days, it could open now if they had to. He, along with other casino representatives, showed visitors around the building. Some features include 2,500 video lottery terminals, more than 100 table games, and a 25-table World Series of Poker-branded poker room.

Barnhill told the reporters the casino has 22,000 employees on their payroll, and that 49 percent of those people are Baltimore City residents. He said he hoped to make more local hires in the future. “Once people see what Horseshoe Baltimore is, I think there will be continued interest from city residents to be able to take advantage of the employment opportunities that we have.”

Barnhill also spoke about the amount of money that goes back into the Baltimore City community. “Part of our tax revenues go into a local development council that is specifically spent in several of the communities around the casino,” he said. He said that that council helps advise Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on just where that cash should go.

Just a short drive away from the casino, at Sliders Bar and Grille on Washington Boulevard, owner Rachel Sheubrooks said she thought the casino was good news for all city business owners. “I think it’s going to be good. Traffic is going to be terrible, which it’s already terrible,” she said. “Hopefully the hotels will fill up. During the winter time, maybe people would shy away from the casinos after a while and find local businesses to participate in, maybe get a bite to eat, get out of the area. Just like if you went to Atlantic City maybe you wouldn’t spend all of your time in the casino. I think it could be good for us.”

Greg Brown, a city resident who was also inside Sliders, also thought the casino was a plus for Baltimore. “I think that the casino down the street is a very good idea. Before they opened up the casino, everybody was going to Delaware spending their money, Atlantic City spending their money. Now the money comes here to the city. It might be bad for some people who have gambling habits who lose their homes and their jobs but hey that’s going to happen. Right now, there is more revenue to the city.”