Gambling machines

Gambling machines inside the entrance of Arundel Mills's Live! Casino. (Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore Sun / May 28, 2012)

Though the Indianapolis casino was successful and its operation garnered accolades from the gambling industry, Indianapolis Downs was deeply in debt because of its other businesses.

Indianapolis Downs ended up filing for bankruptcy. Cordish is still trying through the courts to recoup money it is owed, Weinberg said.

Going its own way

The string of abbreviated partnerships soured Cordish on the pursuit of casino joint ventures.

"I would say that we would focus only on those situations where we're the owner," Weinberg said.

The company is looking at Massachusetts, which plans to request casino proposals within nine months, as a possible place to expand its gambling operations, Weinberg said. And the company hasn't given up on Atlantic City, he said.

"The Trump Plaza is a kind of strategically located property," Weinberg said. "From a long-term planning standpoint, we think that there's an opportunity to link the boardwalk with The Walk project — but it's really a matter of valuation."

None of the company's prior partners in gambling ventures wanted to discuss their relationships with Cordish. Some declined to comment; others did not respond to interview requests.

"I think [Maryland Live] is really going to be the one that shows whether they can be a successful operator or not," said Janney Capital's McGill.

Cordish's quick exits from the Seminole and Indianapolis relationships are not the best indicators of its ability to thrive as a gambling operator, McGill said, but the Florida casinos show that the company has the chops to run a successful entertainment and retail project around a casino.

If Maryland Live is a success, McGill said, Cordish "definitely can be a player."

For now, Cordish is focused on launching Maryland Live, a venue that Weinberg sees as similar to the Seminole casino in Hollywood, Fla. — the one that piqued the company's interest in gambling.

Like Arundel Mills, the Hollywood casino is halfway between two major affluent cities, the principal sources of its clientele, Weinberg said.

"The only difference … is, in Florida we had to build the retail and entertainment complex to go along with the gaming," he said. "Here, we're able to position the Maryland Live casino as part of this existing regional destination that has great shopping and entertainment already."

Timeline of Cordish Cos. gaming operations

January 2001: Cordish breaks ground on the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Resort in Hollywood, Fla.