Boosters of a Prince George’s County casino are vowing to continue their push despite the collapse Wednesday of an expanded gambling plan developed by a Maryland work group.
“Our interest in National Harbor is unabated,” said a statement Wednesday night by MGM Resorts International, which confirmed its interest last week in building and operating an $800 million casino a the mixed-use development on the banks of the Potomac River.
“MGM Resorts remains keenly interested in building a world-class destination resort at National Harbor; a project that will bring significant investment, tax revenue, and much-needed jobs to the state,” the statement said. “We remain willing to work together toward this goal, to offer input when asked, as the state deals with the recommendations of ... Maryland’s working group.
Three of the 11 members of the work group opposed the expanded gambling plan, citing qualms about adding a sixth casino in the state. All three were members of the House of Delegates.
John Morton III, a financial services executive who chaired the group, said that opposition was enough to keep the group from recommending a special session on gambling to Gov. Martin O’Malley (D). The governor could still call a session next month, but aides said it is highly unlikely.
Other members of the group included state senators and O’Malley administration officials.
“If there’s an opportunity to revisit the recommendation not to move forward, we would welcome that so we can bring a world-class destination resort casino to Prince George’s County,” Milton V. Peterson, the developer of National Harbor, said in a statement Wednesday night.
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) also urged state leaders not to abandon the casino idea, arguing there is still time to reach a deal and hold a special session this summer.
“This was about creating jobs and opportunity for our citizens in a time when good jobs are hard to find,” Baker said in a statement Wednesday night. “I strongly encourage the governor, Senate president and the speaker to step in and ask the work group to hammer out an agreement. The people of Maryland deserve a voice in this.”