Horseshoe Baltimore Casino and local economic officials are betting big on infrastructure investments being made. Those will, ideally, overhaul the corridor between the Caesars Entertainment venue and the city’s professional sports stadiums.
Known as the Warner Street District, the presently industrial, uninviting walk between Oriole Park at Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium, home of the NFL Baltimore Ravens, has long been blamed for Horseshoe’s underperformance. Caesars and the Baltimore Development Corporation, the city’s economic development arm, are investing heavily in transforming the less than half-mile strip south of the sports venues.
We started looking at the vacant and underutilized industrial properties and said, ‘What can they be, and how can we make this a better corridor?’ Kim Clark, executive vice president of the Baltimore Development Corp., told The Baltimore Sun. “What can we do to create a better experience?”
The Baltimore Development Corp. provides loans to businesses, and also various incentives funded by the state for economic initiatives.
Gross gaming revenue (GGR) at Horseshoe Baltimore has continually declined over the past half-decade.
In 2016, the casino won almost $160 million from gamblers in the first six months of the year. Prior to the pandemic, GGR was $125 million through the first six months in 2019 — a 35 percent drop from 2016. In 2021, the Caesars gaming floor fared even worse, winning just $104 million. Meanwhile, other Maryland casinos are experiencing record play.
While the MLB Orioles and NFL Ravens stands were empty or at greatly reduced capacities in 2020, the stadiums are back to full capacity. Well, they can at least welcome full capacity. The dismal Orioles — currently owning the worst record in the American League — never come anywhere close to selling out Camden Yards.
But the Ravens will this fall. And Caesars hopes new amenities between M&T Bank Stadium and its Horseshoe Casino will attract fans before and/or after the game.
Horseshoe Baltimore is owned by a partnership consisting of Caesars, JACK Entertainment, and development firm Caves Valley Partners. The group is leading the investment overhaul of the Warner Street District, and has been able to purchase all the Warner Street properties between M&T and Horseshoe, the one exception being a Public Storage location.
Topgolf broke ground in May adjacent to the casino. When it’s completed in 2022, it will feature 90 outdoor hitting bays, a full-service restaurant and bar, and event space.
The Horseshoe ownership is also building a 4,000-seat concert theatre called The Paramount that will additionally feature an outdoor tailgating and multi-use events space. Retail shopping and a transit hub are also being developed.
Finally, should it all play out as planned, the casino group says it imagines one day building a 320-room hotel.
Sports Betting Coming
Maryland legalized sports betting in May, and this week initial regulations for the expanded gaming were released. Along with the state’s six commercial casinos, various entities, including M&T Bank Stadium and Camden Yards, are permitted to incorporate sportsbooks into their facilities.
Though Ravens and Orioles fans won’t need to travel to Horseshoe to place a wager, as they will likely be able to at the stadiums or on their mobile phones, the presence of sports betting, Caesars hopes, will better market the nearby casino, and new and forthcoming entertainment.
“These types of things we’re doing will drive more people to Baltimore, and more reasons for people to come here [casino],” Horseshoe Baltimore Senior VP and General Manager Rodney Conroy said of the investments and sports betting.