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Prospective Casino Players Can Warm Up On Internet

By Bill Ordine

Maryland Live!, the casino at Arundel Mills Mall in Hanover, has announced that it will open its doors June 6 and has made an addition to its Web site to help customers warm up for the action.

The casino debuts at 10 p.m. June  6,  with 3,200 slot machines and electronic table games, plus a handful of restaurants in what Maryland Live! operators call Phase One. During a second phase, from July through October, operators will add 1,550 more slots and electronic table games, more restaurants, a retail store and the casino's main entertainment attraction.

But right now, visitors to the Maryland Live! play-for-fun Web site, myliveonlinecasino.com, can practice some of the games that will be offered at the casino.

In addition to slot machines and video poker, the casino will have table games that typically appear in casinos, such as blackjack, roulette and pai gow poker. Casino personnel known as hosts will man the tables. The chips and the apparatus -- for example, the cards in blackjack -- will be virtual, meaning they will be images that appear on a screen at each player's seat.

To get a feel for some of those games and how they will work, prospective patrons can register to try their luck at myliveonlinecasino.com for free. Blackjack and roulette are familiar tables games on the Web site, and there are several slot machines. The Web site also has a multi-player section with play-for-fun Texas hold'em poker and other games.

Interestingly, the Maryland Live! announcement about the play-for-fun Web site implied that the online play could be worked into the rewards program the casino will offer. Most casinos have a players' club, which allows customers to earn rewards based on their casino play. In this case, rewards could be based on the player's total gaming experience, both live and virtual, the casino announced. That could happen during Phase Two, a casino spokeswoman said.

Meanwhile, when Maryland Live! opens next month, the dining spots that will be ready include Bobby's Burger Palace, a casual eatery from celebrity chef Bobby Flay, The Cheesecake Factory, Phillips Seafood and an Asian wok-and-noodle bar.

***

Clearly, the Orioles have caught Las Vegas oddsmakers flat-footed. Through the first 28 games of the season, Baltimore had been the betting underdog 23 times.

To take a snapshot of the Orioles' performance as a wagering proposition, consider the first 28 games, which ran through May 6, and Baltimore's epic 17-inning win against Boston. The victory gave the O's a major league-best record of 19-9. At the same time, a $100 wager per game (adjusted for whether Baltimore was the favorite or underdog) would have resulted in a $1,442 profit, according to covers.com, a sports-wagering news and information Web site. That number is also the best by far among all Major League Baseball teams.

Through the same time period, the next-best wagering performance was by Tampa (19-10) at $860, and the worst was by the Los Angeles Angels (12-17) at minus-$1,163.

***

The Maryland Lottery has partnered with the Orioles again this season for a so-called second-chance lottery. In second-chance lotteries, people can enter losing tickets (also called non-winning tickets) in a drawing in the hopes of winning something.

In this case, the losing tickets have to be from the Strike it Rich scratch-off game.

Once the tickets are registered online, a winner is chosen for every Orioles home game. The winner for each home game gets $500, plus $100 for every strikeout the Orioles pitch during that home game. There are also four more special prizes still available, such as attending an Orioles game at Fenway Park and going to spring training next year. Those winners will be chosen June 5, July 10, Aug. 2 and Sept. 4.

***

The Maryland Lottery is suggesting that folks check their old lottery tickets.

There are three second-tier Mega Millions lottery tickets, each worth $250,000, that were unclaimed as of May 7. All were bought in the greater Baltimore area. A second-tier winner occurs when a Mega Millions ticket matches the first five numbers, but misses the Mega Ball.

Two of those unclaimed second-tier tickets were from the March 30 drawing, when the jackpot skyrocketed to $656 million. One was purchased at Redner's Warehouse Market in Bel Air and the other came from a 7-Eleven in Timonium.

Bel Air is a lucky place. Still another Bel Air ticket hit for $250,000 May 1. That came from a 7-Eleven on Churchville Road and was unclaimed by May 7.

Issue 173: May 2012