MGM Strikes Agreement For Casino At The National Harbor

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — MGM Resorts and the developers of the National Harbor lay their cards on the table. They’ve agreed to build a resort casino at the National Harbor.

Political reporter Pat Warren reports there are still a number of hurdles to clear.

Picture a world-class casino on the banks of the Potomac River. MGM Resorts International does at the National Harbor.

“If we’re wanted, we’re all in,” Jim Murren, chairman of MGM Resorts International, said.

Murren and National Harbor developer Milt Peterson met with Gov. Martin O’Malley on Friday.

“That market and the possibility of attracting people to a resort destination who were coming to visit Washington makes it a very exciting proposal,” O’Malley said.

Exciting but illegal. First, state law doesn’t allow a casino at that location. It also restricts the games to video lottery terminals, including these computer-generated card games, and takes 67 percent of the profits.

This work group appointed by the governor is expected to make recommendations for changes by June 20.

“If the law is changed to include table games — and only if it includes table games because we’re a resort-based company — at the right tax rate we will deliver on the promises I just made you,” Murren said.

O’Malley has no objection to making those changes, including reducing the tax rate.

“In order to get other members on board, it had to be the highest take,” he said. “But now that people have seen the sky hasn’t fallen and the opening of the locations that have opened have not led to the degradation of the morals of the people of Maryland, I think that people are more flexible and more open to other arguments.”

Of course, the critical votes are considered to be in the House of Delegates. House Speaker Michael Busch is on vacation and was not available on Friday for comment.

The governor is committed to calling a special session to approve changes in the law, including changes that would have to get voter approval in November.

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