MGM submits thick bid for Prince George’s casino, shares few details


MGM’s casino proposals were transported by SUVs. (John Wagner/Washington Post)

With a splash of Las Vegas showmanship, MGM Resorts on Thursday submitted to Maryland officials its proposal to build and operate a high-end casino in Prince George’s County.

Ornate boxes containing multiple copies of the company’s bid documents were on display at a morning news conference at National Harbor, where MGM proposes to build the casino.

With television cameras rolling, the boxes were loaded into a fleet of black SUVs, emblazoned with the MGM logo, to be transported to a state regulatory office in Baltimore a day before the bid deadline.

“Simply look around and you can see why we’re here,” Lorenzo Creighton, president and chief operating officer of MGM National Harbor, told reporters. “This site is unparalleled.”

Creighton provided few details about the roughly 800-page proposal, saying state regulators had asked the company to remain mum. For example, the share of proceeds MGM is proposing to keep was not disclosed. Under state law, the operator of the Prince George’s site can retain up to 38 percent of slots revenue and up to 20 percent from table games.

But Creighton said the company’s plans haven’t changed much from the public statements made before a statewide referendum last fall in which voters approved the Prince George’s site and the legalization of table games, such as blackjack and roulette, at Maryland gambling venues.

During the campaign, MGM promised an $800 million “luxury resort” with plans for a hotel, restaurants and retail, an entertainment venue, a spa and other attractions.

The casino would be built on an empty 20-acre lot up a hill to the northeast of the existing National Harbor development, the 300-acre mini-city on the Potomac River. The site offers views of Alexandria and many of the District’s landmarks.

It remained unclear Thursday whether MGM would be the sole bidder for the lucrative Prince George’s license.

Last week, Penn National Gaming disclosed its intent to bid in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Company representatives have since said a final decision has not been made.

Penn owns Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington, a horse track that the company bought in a bankruptcy auction in 2011.

The state is accepting bids for sites in a swath of western Prince George’s that includes National Harbor and Rosecroft. Bids are due by 2 p.m. Friday.

“Our proposal incorporates feedback we received from the community of which we hope to soon become a part,” Creighton said Thursday. “We will also make good on promises we’ve made to create thousands of new local jobs, provide enormous economic benefits to the region and maintain our proven commitment to corporate social responsibility.”

John Wagner has covered Maryland government and politics for The Post since 2004.
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