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Cordish considering hotel next to Md. casino

Brian Witte, Associated Press

David Cordish, president and chairman of the Cordish Cos., announced Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012 in Hanover, Md., that voter approval of gambling expansion in Maryland last week to allow table games like blackjack will mean the Maryland Live! casino will hire about 1,200 more people, bringing total jobs at the casino to nearly 3,000. Cordish said he hopes to have table games operating at Maryland Live! by early spring of next year. (AP Photo/Brian Witte)

HANOVER, Md. (AP) -- The owners of Maryland Live! are considering building a hotel with conference facilities next to the casino, the chairman of the Cordish Cos. said Wednesday.

David Cordish said he believes there is a "very good chance" of eventually adding a high-rise hotel.

"You're a little bit ahead of me," Cordish said when asked by a reporter about it. "You asked are we thinking about it. The answer is absolutely, but I don't have it definite yet."

Cordish spoke about the possibility after announcing that Maryland Live! plans to hire 1,200 more people, now that voters have approved allowing table games like blackjack and roulette at Maryland casinos. That would bring the total number of employees to nearly 3,000 at Maryland's largest casino. Cordish said table games could begin sometime in the early spring of next year.

Cordish kicked off the news conference with a flourish inside the facility's Rams Head Center Stage concert venue. Cordish walked up to a microphone on a blackjack table with female employees in fishnet stockings on each arm, as the song "The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers played.

"Today really marks the culmination of our commitment to build a world-class, full-destination casino that will equal and exceed anything in Las Vegas or Atlantic City, and to do that you needed to add this one final component," Cordish said, referring to live table games.

Robert Norton, the casino's president and general manager, said plans call for 150 table games like blackjack, craps and roulette. The casino also plans to open a poker room with 30 to 50 tables, in addition to the other table games.

Some of the casino's 4,750 slot machines will be removed to make room for the table games. Cordish said there will still be well more than 4,000 slot machines at the casino. A Prime Rib restaurant, a high-end steakhouse, is scheduled to open Dec. 6.

Cordish also announced that a free, 12-week program to teach future employees how to be dealers will begin in January in association with Anne Arundel Community College.

More than 500 people already have applied for the new jobs, Norton said.