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Md. county eyes local aid for MGM jobs, contracts

Apr 7, 2014 6:09 PM

In the competition to be selected for a casino license to be located in Prince George’s County, Maryland, MGM Resorts International (MGM) easily dominated the field. But, their efforts to go forward with a $925 million casino resort at National Harbor, a stone’s throw from the nation’s capital, has not been without controversy.

County lawmakers are pushing for legislation that would ensure that county residents have a fair shot at the jobs that will be created by the new enterprise. Also, they want county businesses to get a crack at bidding for contracts to be made available by MGM.

This legislative effort does not sit well with casino management.

Officials of MGM call the legislation effort a potential roadblock to getting the construction work underway.

According to a story by Luz Lazo in the Washington Post, county officials have been in negotiations for months with the casino company. Efforts are being made to develop an agreement that would set conditions about contracting and other county benefits.

The proposal, sponsored by six of the county’s nine council members, is expected to be voted on sometime next month. A sponsor of the proposal was quoted as saying the lawmakers want to make sure there is a mechanism in place to hold the developer accountable.

However, the council insisted it was not taking action to delay the project.

“We have about 900,000 citizens that we represent and we are here to protect and watch out for (them),” said Mary Lehman, a council member. “We appreciate the money you (MGM) are talking about…But let’s be clear: We haven’t seen a penny yet.”

MGM has indicated it will need building permits by June if it is to meet its projected completion date in mid-2016. The company has already filed site plans with the county and expects the planning board to discuss the matter in May.

That would make it possible for MGM to break ground for the casino this summer.

MGM’s plan to build this world-class resort consists of a casino with 3,600 slot machines, 140 table games, additional attractions and restaurants, a 300-suite glass-tower hotel and a parking area that would accommodate 4,700 cars.

And, all this would be overlooking the Potomac River.

Ray Poirier is the longtime executive editor at GamingToday.

Contact Ray at [email protected].

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