Wayne Dougherty 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 Havre de Grace mayor told Patch 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 asking for the state to consider Harford County for a gaming site 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 told Patch they were curious if a traditional casino would work, 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 The Lantern Queen riverboat and The Skipjack Martha Lewis.
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.