By Ava-joye Burnett

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A new casino and resort opens in Maryland and it has a big name behind it.

In just a matter of days big names like Cher and Bruno Mars will perform at the new MGM National Harbor. This type of resort is unlike any Maryland has seen before.

The grand unveiling has been five years in the making. The new casino and resort in Prince George’s County boasts a $1.4 billion price tag.

There’s the casino, a 24 story hotel, shopping and restaurants.

“I have eaten in Beijing, I have eaten in Shanghai, if you eat in Ginger, there is no difference,” said executive director of hotel operations Patrick Fisher.

Maryland native sons the Voltaggio brothers have a restaurant in the hotel. Baltimore’s Pappas Crabcakes have also set up shop. But perhaps one of the biggest draws will be the entertainment.

Cher, Boys II men, Sting and even Bruno Mars have locked down performance dates.

“Biggest artists in the world. You think of Bruno Mars will take the stage there on the 27th. Normally he’s in a 20,000 seat arena, shrunk down now into 3,000 seats. There is not a bad seat in the house,” said Fisher.

MGN National Harbor will be the state’s sixth casino and the numbers seems to prove Marylanders aren’t shy about betting on this industry.

Maryland Lottery said revenue for the five existing casinos in the state was almost $92 million, and that was for November alone. A 2 percent jump from last November.

But one constant concern with this new mega resort is the traffic it’s expected to draw in and around Oxon Hill.

“I think it’s crazy. There is going to be so much traffic,” said Mo McLauchlin of Oxon Hill.

“I think it’s great. Other than the traffic, but it’s only going to be bad for a few days and I am OK with it,” said Leslie Rivera of Oxon Hill.

The casino and hotel officially open Thursday at 11 p.m.
MGM says there are 5000 parking spaces, that are free for now.

The hotel has more than 230 rooms and it casino is more than 125,000 square feet. MGM says they hired 4,000 local employees.

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Ava-joye Burnett


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