October 23, 2018

Live! Casino & Hotel awards $19 million in local impact grants

The Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover will distribute about $19 million to Anne Arundel County government agencies and community organizations this year.

The new grants bring the total amount awarded under the annual program to nearly $130 million since the casino opened in 2012. The state law authorizing casinos in Maryland requires Live! to reserve 4.51 percent of its revenue from slot machines for the grants, which this year totaled $19 million.

The Local Development Council, a 15-member group of residents and elected officials, advises the casino on how to distribute the money. To be eligible, organizations must work within a three-mile radius of the casino.

Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh and other local officials gathered in the casino's new event center Tuesday for a ceremony marking the awards. The Cordish Cos., Live! Casino & Hotel's developer, also released two new renderings showing an expansion of the event center space, which is scheduled to be complete next summer.

When it's finished, the venue will hold more than 4,000 people and offer 40,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space. A portion of the center opened over the summer, shortly after the new Live! Hotel adjacent to the casino made its debut in June.

The existing space, which holds about 1,500 people, is already booking for weddings, concerts and community and corporate events, Cordish Cos. managing partner Joe Weinberg said. Upcoming events on the center's calendar include concerts by Sheila E., KC and the Sunshine Band and Patti LaBelle, as well as comedy shows from Carlos Mencia, Chris D'Elia and Tom Segura.

Anne Arundel County is supporting the event center's expansion through an agreement waiving property taxes on the hotel and conference center for the next 30 years. In exchange, Live! is required to offer the center up for county high school and community college graduations each spring. The payment-in-lieu-of-taxes deal could add up to as much as $36 million in waived taxes over the duration of the agreement, though both county and Cordish Cos. officials predict the exemption will actually be in the $18 million to $24 million range.

The hotel and event center is part of The Cordish Cos.' plan to steel its Hanover casino against competition. Live! reported $50.3 million in revenue last month, a 7.1 percent year-over-year increase. MGM National Harbor in Prince George's County earned the most revenue among casinos in the state, pulling in $54.4 million.

Local impact grants for fiscal year 2019:

Anne Arundel County Fire Department: $5.6 million
Anne Arundel County Police Department: $3.5 million
Anne Arundel County Office of Public Works/Department of Planning and Zoning: $2.9 million
Anne Arundel Community College: $1.7 million
BWI Partnership: $1.1 million
Anne Arundel County Library System: $1 million
Anne Arundel County Recreation & Parks: $900,000
ARC of the Chesapeake: $600,000
Fort Meade Alliance Foundation: $500,000
Community grants: $350,000
Spring Meadows Homeowners Association: $300,000
Anne Arundel Workforce Development: $270,000
United Way of Central Maryland: $200,000
Administrative support: $100,000
Baltimore Washington Medical Center: $40,000
Partners in Care: $40,000
Boys & Girls Clubs of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County: $40,000

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