National Harbor casino plan unveiled by MGM Resorts

Photo: MGM Resorts International

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (WJLA) - MGM Resorts International hasn't even been awarded a license to open and operate a casino in the state of Maryland, but that didn't stop them from rolling out their plans Tuesday for a first-class resort destination at National Harbor.

And MGM’s plans for the National Harbor are – in a word – big.

“Great quality hotel rooms, very similar to our product in Las Vegas – spa, great entertainment, a complete MGM mix,” describes Lorenzo Creighton, President of MGM Resorts National Harbor.

Plans for MGM's proposed site in Prince George's County, which were originally laid out in May and June, include a high-end casino and resort to the shores of the Potomac River, complete with Maryland's sixth casino.

According to plans presented earlier this summer, the casino would boast 4,000 slot machines and 250 table games. The complex would also include numerous restaurants, live entertainment venues and a luxury hotel.

MGM is one of three companies bidding for a gaming license to operate a casino in Prince George’s County. Greenwood Racing and Penn National have also submitted plans for casinos.

Penn National, which wants to build on the site at Rosecroft Raceway, spent more than $40 million last fall to try and defeat the referendum that added another casino in Maryland.

Richard Sherman and his wife from Bowie come to the National Harbor regularly, and he supports the MGM bid.

“Because they were backing us getting the gambling here, I am for them as opposed to the guys who wanted to keep it only in West Virginia,” says Richard.

MGM is probably best known for its casinos in Las Vegas, and has entered an agreement with the National Harbor to build a huge casino with hundreds of slot machines and gambling tables – along with a hotel. It would be built just north of the existing retail center along the water.

But MGM needs the gaming license to move forward.

ABC7 showed the design to Michelle Summey, who lives in a condo here at the National Harbor.

“It's pretty, but it's going to make traffic here really bad. But it will be good for the businesses here to bring in people,” she says.

And according to Vanita Jacobson: “The positive is the job increase it will bring in – but that is only if they are jobs that are above minimum wage.”

Officials confirm that the resort would create more than 8,000 permanent jobs.

"Knowing our resort will be the first representation of Maryland many visitors see crossing the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, we designed something striking and beautiful, respectful of the opportunity to create an iconic gateway to Maryland," MGM Resorts Chairman and CEO Jim Murren said in a statement.

MGM officials say that the design of their project, which they unveiled at National Harbor on Wednesday, is inspired by Pierre L'Enfant's original plan for the layout of what came to be Washington, D.C. The entire complex would be perched on top of a 1,600-foot-long pedestal overlooking the water.

The entire complex would also be connected by an enormous roof that would connect the hotel to an outdoor terrace.

Representatives from MGM also said that they would work with Prince George's County to increase accessibility to the complex, including shuttles, Metrobuses and water taxis.

MGM, nor any other company, has been formally approved to operate what will become Maryland's sixth casino, but as evidenced by Wednesday's announcement, the company is working diligently on its plans.

The Washington Business Journal reported last Thursday on that notion, saying that MGM officials were working under the assumption that they'd get the license.

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