Three firms pass critical step for PG County casino license

The three firms vying for a license to operate a casino in Prince George's County passed rigorous background checks, state regulators announced Thursday.

The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission said it found that the companies were financially sound and that their backers were of high integrity after regulators spent 4,500 hours investigating, researching and conducting interviews as required by state law.

The commission will pass along its decision to the state's Video Lottery Facility Location Commission, which will consider the proposals over several days beginning Oct. 21. The location commission is expected to award a license to one of the three companies by the end of the year.

MGM Resorts International, through its subsidiary MGM National Harbor, wants to build a glitzy $800 million casino and resort at National Harbor, near Interstate 95 and the Potomac River. Two other firms have competing proposals to build casino resorts nearby in Fort Washington.

Penn National Gaming has proposed a $700-million Hollywood Casino Resort at its Rosecroft Raceway. Maryland Casino LLC, a subsidiary of Greenwood Racing Inc., plans a $800 million Parx Casino Hotel & Spa in Fort Washington.

The state gaming commission did place requirements on two of the companies. Robert Green, founder of Greenwood Racing, agreed to cease contact with a former friend who was convicted in a penny stock scheme, according to the gaming commission. MGM will be required to submit regular status reports on its efforts to keep its casinos in Macau — a Chinese territory known for casino corruption, according to the state — free of such influences. MGM senior officials also agreed to continue to not contact a former board member of the firm who was convicted of wiretapping charges several years ago.

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