MGM National Harbor casino clears major hurdle

(WJLA) - The MGM National Harbor will be big – larger than a million and 3,000 square feet. It will also alter the look of the National Harbor, which critics say is also the nation’s capital.

“The character of the southern gateway to the nation’s capital will be changed forever,” says an opponent, Bonnie Bick.

Those against the project pleaded with the Prince George’s County Panning Board to reject the plan for the casino. The belief is that it will be too big, vulgar, and bright – especially with five jumbotrons that measure 70 by 90 and 40 by 60.

“It's ugly…Put those flashing lights on the side of a building like that, it's sheer ugliness,” says William Cavitt.

But the planning board requested a few changes – including dimmers – and in the end, approved the plan for the MGM National Harbor Casino.

“It is a very large development, which we believe is very important to our economic base,” says Planning Department Review Chief Alan Hirsch.

While MGM is thrilled with its victory, critics say they are disappointed. The new casino boasts a view of the national monuments, but it’s the reverse view that troubles them:

“People from the Mall, the Capitol, and the monuments can see the casino…Prince George’s County is going to be used as a sacrifice dump for this casino in my opinion,” says Bick.