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Dougherty On Board With Riverboat Casino Idea

Havre de Grace Mayor Wayne Dougherty is in agreement with County Executive David Craig that a riverboat casino would benefit Harford County and the surrounding region.

and his wife, Mary, used to manage a travel agency. On occasion, they'd take trips to the Mississippi River, where paddleboat casinos are a big business.

"It was a big hit," Dougherty said.

The mayor told Wednesday he is intrigued by the idea of a riverboat casino on the Susquehanna River—an idea first presented by County Executive David Craig Tuesday to a special work group on gaming expansion in Maryland.

According to a statement from his office released on Tuesday, Craig said: "Given our location at the head of the Chesapeake Bay, I think it would be worthwhile to consider a riverboat casino for Harford County. Such casinos have been highly successful in towns and cities along the Mississippi River and on the Gulf Coast. A riverboat is also mobile, which means that it could even be shared with other areas of the state."

Craig issued a letter recently if all other areas in the state were under consideration, citing the recent shift of pensions to the county government level. Officials from around the county , particularly with Hollywood Casino Perryville in close proximity.

Dougherty, however, echoed Craig's sentiment that a riverboat casino could benefit a number of places in the region. But in particular, Dougherty thinks a riverboat casino would be a big benefit to Harford County's premier tourism spot: Havre de Grace.

"Personally, I think it would certainly be a very positive thing to happen for this area," Dougherty said. "Havre de Grace would certainly be the port of call, because they could go anywhere from here."

The riverfront city boasts history, a booming restaurant industry and quaint shops. It's attracted a regional cruise ship, and already serves as home for riverboat and .

Dougherty said there would be a number of questions he'd have if such a facility were to come to fruition. But for now, he's in full support of the idea.

"I want to see how it all plays out," Dougherty said. "They certainly wouldn’t get an argument from me."

TELL US: Do you think a riverboat casino would succeed along the shores of Havre de Grace? Leave a comment.

Hazzard Native June 17, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Now, you have purchased or leased your vessel, you greased the pockets of the officials to get a really cheap berth at a city owned property, you passed your first CG inspection, you have hired and drug tested your crew, you purchased your machines (likely just a couple/few hundred machines, as restricted by the size of your vessel), you have your machine techs, waitstaff, galley crew, and managers all hired and uniformed, now what? How do you decide what hours to run your cruises? Are you going to make people wait on the dock for the next cruise and possibly lose their business to Hollywood Casino, or are you going to incur more overhead by having a high speed shuttle ferry them out to the mothership? How do you possibly compete with fewer machines, less playing hours and adverse weather conditions? You either have to have the worst odds in the region, or you have to charge a cruise fee, either way, most folks will never come to your little corner of the market, or they will come one time and be done. The only SUCCESFULL riverboat casinos are docked in places where there are no land based casinos for many miles. If it gets passed, I give the operator 1 year max, before they are belly-up. Good luck.
Kareem N Mikoffee June 18, 2012 at 05:09 AM
Hazzard, you must be part of the 1% who knows how business actually works. Therefore, your comments will be dismissed by the majority who regularly comment on these pages. Many regular comment contributors will ask for tourist taxes to fund the casino and probably a large "loan" to buy the boat. Maryland is mini-California east and with this one party rule "medical" marijuana emporiums will soon be approved. Hopefully the floating casino has a gay marriage cruise and floating abortion clinics and all other abominations near and dear to the liberal heart.
Curtis Coon June 18, 2012 at 03:47 PM
The rhetorical question, for Mr. Leppert and others, is "does this town need saving?" There are many who like Have de Grace -- and wouldn't move for the world. I am one of them. Improve the City? of course. Get involved with downtown? no problem. But, Riverboat gambling? Just how could that "save" our city? I am trying to figure that out.
Tom Barnes July 25, 2012 at 10:56 AM
Straight up, Mikoffee - I REALLY take offense that you equate "abortion" and "medical" marijuana to gay marriage. It is fine to be a bigot and prejudice (even I - a 'liberal' - have my own to deal with), but to try and classify gay people and their relationships and families to such things just shows just how low small minded jerks will go to try their best at hurt other people. I am SO very glad that your ilk is dying off. I welcome the day that we won't have to deal with such nonsense and trash in our state and, indeed, our country. Want to talk about abominations? Take a good hard look at yourself, sunshine.
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