Greenwood Racing, Inc. joins fight for MD's sixth casino

It’s little more than birds and abandoned buildings now. But by 2016, this Fort Washington, MD field could be home to a new $800 million casino.

“It’s been 15 years we’ve been looking at this area and hoping this day would come,” says Tony Ricci, Greenwood Racing Inc.’s CEO. “So, we didn’t’ want to miss it when it did happen.”

Ricci says Greenwood Racing identified Prince George’s County as a potential casino site more than a decade ago, adding the area is similar to the location of the company’s premier facility, Parx Casino, outside Philadelphia.

In May, a subsidiary, Maryland Casino LLC, purchased the 22-acre parcel{ } -- wedged between Livingston Road and Indian Head Highway -- for $1.4 million. Residents nearby say it’s a welcome idea.

“There’s nothing here,” says Joseph Thomas, a Fort Washington, Md. resident.

But Greenwood faces still competition. MGM has long been the front runner, followed by Penn National which owns Rosecroft Raceway. Prince George’s County president David Harrington says even if the field gets wider, MGM will likely be the winner.

“I think the licensing bureau will do their due diligence,” Harrington says. “But, I think at the end of the day, MGM will prevail.

Ricci says Greenwood is confident that its proposal will beat out the rest. He says they hope to add more slot machines than the other competitors, yielding more revenue for the state.

"We believe in the end that our proposal will generate the most tax revenue for the state and the highest level of economic development for the community,” Ricci says. “We expect to win."

Many expect the commission handling the bidding process to announce a winner by the end of the year.