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Maryland Politics
Posted at 11:14 AM ET, 06/14/2012

MGM could operate National Harbor casino


A view of National Harbor (Peter Fellows)
The developer of National Harbor is in the late stages of negotiations with MGM, one of the world’s leading gaming companies, to operate a proposed casino at its development in Prince George’s County, according to several people familiar with the talks.

Milton V. Peterson, chairman of the Peterson Cos., told reporters Tuesday that an announcement about an arrangement with a potential casino operator at his mixed-use development on the Potomac River was days away. He would not divulge the company’s name but said it was a well-known player in Las Vegas and elsewhere.

Update, Friday 6:30 a.m.: National Harbor executives have scheduled an announcement for 11:15 a.m. in Annapolis of their plans for MGM to run the proposed casino. The announcement follows planned meetings with Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert).

Speculation has centered on MGM since Wednesday, when Peterson, one of his lobbyists and an MGM executive met at the State House in Annapolis with House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel).

O’Malley has indicated that he may call lawmakers back to Annapolis the week of July 9 for a special session on expanded gambling. One of the proposals under consideration by an ongoing work group is authorizing a new casino at National Harbor or nearby.

Jon M. Peterson, senior vice president of the Peterson Cos., would not confirm a deal with MGM on Thursday morning.

“We don’t have a deal or letter of intent, so there’s nothing more we can say,” he said in a statement.

Several hurdles remain to an expanded gambling plan that would include a Prince George’s casino.

O’Malley has indicated he will only call a special session if a consensus is reached among the work group, which consists of legislators and officials from his administration.

Busch has said legislation remains a tough sell in his chamber. A Senate-backed gambling bill died in the House on the final night of the legislature’s 90-day session this year.

The plan to add a sixth casino in Maryland is vigorously opposed by the owner of Maryland Live! in Anne Arundel County, which opened this month.

By  |  11:14 AM ET, 06/14/2012

 
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