Developers at National Harbor and MGM have reached an agreement to invest at least $800 million to build and operate a proposed casino in Prince George’s County, officials announced Friday.
The accord is contingent on the passage of legislation that would first authorize the state’s sixth casino site, allow table games such as blackjack and roulette and change what MGM Resorts International Chairman Jim Murren called the “egregious” tax rate Maryland now levies on gambling revenues.
Maryland voters would also have to approve an expansion of gambling on the November ballot.
National Harbor developer Jon Peterson said the companies support Senate legislation, which failed during the General Assembly, that would reduce the state’s tax rate on slots to about 52 percent, a 15 percent reduction, and would tax table games at 10 percent.
If a deal is struck in the legislature, Murren promised to invest at least $600 million to help build the casino resort, which he envisions as a high-end destination facility that would complement the existing amenities at National Harbor.
“We’re not going to drop Las Vegas at National Harbor,” Murren said. “We’re going to do something that’s sensitive to the environment and to the region.”
The remaining investment would come from the Peterson Cos., the developer of National Harbor.
The proposed casino would include 4,000 slot machines, a demand that may require an expansion of the number of slots made available to casinos throughout the state; 250 table games; and a luxury hotel along with other retail and restaurant options.
Construction of the facility would generate about 2,000 jobs, with another 4,000 employed once the resort is fully operational, officials said.
MGM’s estimates of the gross revenue potential of the casino far exceed those made by state analysts earlier this week — a National Harbor casino could generate as much as $700 million annually, Murren said, with more than 70 percent of the business coming from out-of-state visitors.
Prince George’s County officials said MGM’s commitment to National Harbor reaffirms County Executive Rushern Baker’s vision for casino on the Potomac that would provide a lucrative revenue stream for both the county and state.
“This is an exciting opportunity for the residents of Prince George’s County and Maryland,” Baker said. “We remain hopeful that the people will have a chance to vote on bringing a high-quality resort casino that will create thousands of construction and full-time jobs and generate millions in additional revenue.”