May 9 MGM Resorts International on
Thursday filed a proposal with the state of Maryland to develop
an $800 million casino resort, after winning the right to
proceed with the project in a costly lobbying effort against
rival Penn National Gaming Inc.
MGM filed its proposal for a license with the Maryland Video
Lottery Facility Location Commission to develop the resort on 20
acres of waterfront property in National Harbor in Prince
George's County, just south of Washington, D.C.
Maryland voters in November passed a controversial measure
to expand gambling in the state, which enabled MGM to proceed
with its bidding. The measure, known as Maryland Question 7,
permitted bidding for a sixth casino license.
Penn National, which already operates a casino in the state,
opposed the expansion.
Maryland officials said the combined lobbying costs of
nearly $90 million was a record amount spent on any one
MGM paid the majority of the $45.3 million spent by a
consortium including Peterson Development Cos LLC and local
unions that backed the measure, while Penn National spent about
$42 million in opposing it.
Penn National sought to protect its Rosecroft Raceway
facility in Fort Washington, Maryland, which is also in Prince
Penn bought the raceway for $10.25 million in a bankruptcy
auction in 2011 in hopes of revitalizing it as a casino. It said
on Thursday it will also file a proposal with the commission by
its deadline on Friday, but has low expectations of winning the
Penn National operates the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town
Races in neighboring West Virginia, and the Hollywood Casino in
"Though we intend to participate in the bidding process, we
believe another operator could be selected, and as a result our
financial results would be adversely impacted as it would create
additional competition for Hollywood Casino at Charles Town
Races and Hollywood Casino Perryville," said Penn National in a
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) 10Q filing on May 3.
The November measure set the stage for Maryland's largest
gambling expansion since 2008, when voters approved a ballot
measure for slot machines at five locations.
MGM has said the National Harbor resort will create 2,000
construction jobs and up to 4,000 permanent jobs. If MGM wins
the bid, as is widely expected, the new casino would open in
"We are going to live up to our commitments," Lorenzo
Creighton, president and COO of MGM's MGM National Harbor
subsidiary, told Reuters, referring to its pledges to create
jobs and economic benefits to the region.
MGM has said the luxury casino resort would have about 200
table games and 4,000 slot machines, along with many restaurant
and entertainment options.