A Trip Through Maryland’s Best Casinos - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

A Trip Through Maryland’s Best Casinos

As an Englishman who loves to bet, I saw a recent trip to the States as a chance to find out how the nation that is the home to the original city of sin does gambling. In the UK we don’t have the same insane concentrations of casinos as America, although we do have a glut of online video slot casinos and sportsbooks to bet at, which is where I honed my skills. Yes, our online gambling laws are somewhat more liberal than those in America, whilst if you’re looking for the real feel of the cards and the tinkle of coins in the win-tray, then pickings are somewhat slimmer. So whilst on an extended tour of the state earlier in 2019 I was excited to try my luck in Maryland, that whilst not exactly Vegas, still has a few decent gambling destinations to visit. So with a few hundred dollars in my pocket, I hit the road.

These two casinos were the highlights of my trip. I can recommend them to anyone with a few spare hours and dollars to kill whilst traveling through Maryland.

MGM National Harbor Casino,  Maryland

The MGM National Harbor resort is situated on the outskirts of Washington and was opened across 23 acres in 2016. This is a classy place with celebrity chef restaurants, a huge 24-story hotel, a concert venue and a luxury salon. But I was saving my money for the casino which offers over 3,000 slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and the usual array of table games, as well as the chance to play in regular poker tournaments.

The casino has a more sophisticated feel than some of the stale, tacky venues I’ve visited in Vegas, but you do have to be prepared to pay for your drinks here, which include an array of deadly but tasty cocktails.

The slots selection was excellent and includes a massive Walking Dead immersive game with a screen that must have been at least four feet high. The tables were busy on a weekend night and the Washington crowd are big spenders – I didn’t find a table offering hands at less than $25 a go. Nevertheless, a lucky streak saw me up $1,000 before I called it a night and sat back at the bar to people watch.

The MGM is something like a 15-minute drive from Capitol Hill and attracts a sophisticated crowd of city slickers and politicos by the looks of things. If you’re in the city and looking for a place to hang out after normal hours – or any time of day or night for that matter, this is a great spot.

Live! Casino and Hotel, Hanover, Maryland

On my journey up from Washington to Baltimore the Live! Casino and Hotel were recommended to me, on the promise that its slot machine selection is superior to that of the MGM. They weren’t wrong. Somewhere in the region of 4,000 video slots make for one hell of a site as you enter the vast hall. Slots can hold my attention for hours and I had a good time spinning some classic IGT and Aristocrat numbers, including Wheel of Fortune, though with little luck as I more or less broke even.

Elsewhere I tried my luck on some Blackjack Progressives where I burnt through a few hundred in no time before having a browse at a monster set of poker tables where there were some intense hands being played. I didn’t join any but the players looked like a pretty professional class of gamblers. I’m told there are some decent money tournaments played here so worth booking in advance if you’re thinking of visiting.

One thing I enjoyed more about the casinos in the States was the sociable aspect and I soon got talking to some regulars at the bar who shared some stories of Vegas trips with me. The drinks weren’t cheap, but I understand now that outside Vegas in the gambling dens they rarely are.

I didn’t find time to visit any more casinos in Maryland but there are a few smaller ones that can be found on sites like World Casino Directory. The state also boasts a few decent race tracks that are worth checking out, including Pimlico and Ocean Downs.


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