Since Memorial Day weekend, when giant earth-moving equipment prepared the huge space behind the M&T Bank Stadium, a structure has been taking shape. Now, a steel frame and concrete are casting a two-story shadow across Russell Street. The Horseshoe Casino is taking shape.

According to officials, residents of Baltimore will soon see the earth-toned, glass-framed casino, with a giant, lighted horseshoe over the entrance, as the much-anticipated $442 million-dollar casino rises above Russell Street.

The raw shape of the new casino can be seen by motorists approaching Baltimore from the south on U.S. 295 and this time next year, if construction continues uninterrupted, gamblers will be entering the city’s first full-service casino, table games included.

“We feel very positive in the direction we are headed in,” said Senior Vice President and General Manager Chad Barnhill. “We continue to push forward with construction. We are moving very quickly with getting the steel up.”

Horseshoe Casino will be located along Russell Street on Baltimore’s south side, and will be a glittering addition to a skyline already dominated by M&T Bank Stadium and Camden Yards.

Barnhill said the $442 million project is “right on track” for an opening date of sometime in late September 2014—mid-football season.

“Our guys are working 12-hour shifts, six days a week,” he said.

In 2012, the Maryland lottery Commission approved a Caesars Entertainment-led consortium bid to develop and operate a gaming facility in downtown Baltimore. Maryland voters approved a casino in Baltimore City, and at four other locations throughout the state. Horseshoe will be the second largest gaming site.

With the opening of the new casino, 1,700 jobs will be added to Baltimore and 2,000 constructions jobs have been added.

“We have some executive level positions that were put on the website and there has been a great response to those postings,” Barnhill said.

He said there would be two celebrity chef restaurants adding to the Baltimore’s cuisine offerings.

Horseshoe Casino will have 100 table games and a 25-table “World Series of Poker” room. It will feature a 110,000-square-foot gaming floor with 2,500 slot machines with several indoor and outdoor lounges.

“There is a lot of energy. As you start to see the development of the construction process, the energy continues to build,” said project manager Greg Combs.

During the 30-minute tour, Combs told reporters the casino would have lots of glass walls. He said there would be outdoor dining areas, a Baltimore Market Place for food, a parking garage that will house 4,000 vehicles and plenty of entertainment.

“Guest can expect a Wow! factor when they see the final design,” Combs said.

He said the interior would have wood grained interior throughout casino, with plenty of earth tones.

There will be a state of the art surveillance system where customers will feel safe and secure in the building according to Barnhill, who noted that the Baltimore Police Department will be as heavy a force as luck at the casino.

“We will have Baltimore PD onsite whenever we open to make sure there is a presence there,” he said.


Blair Adams

AFRO Staff Writer