Three operators submit bids for license for Prince George's casino

Shown is the site at National Harbor where MGM plans to build a resort and casino. MGM is bidding for the license for the state's sixth casino, in Prince George's County.

Two more bidders emerged Friday to compete against MGM National Harbor for the right to build a casino in Prince George's County.

Penn National Gaming submitted a proposal to the state's gaming control agency for a $700-million Hollywood Casino Resort at its Rosecroft Raceway site. And Maryland Casino LLC, a subsidiary of Greenwood Racing Inc., bid to build an $800 million Parx Casino Hotel & Spa in Fort Washington.


MGM National Harbor dropped off its own proposal — outlined in 13 boxes of materials — Thursday for an expected $800-million project.

Details about the bids will be released later Friday after the 2 p.m. deadline passes to submit proposals for what would be the state's sixth casino. The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency will release information about proposals once it has reviewed them to make sure they are complete and accurate, said Carole Everett, director of communications for the agency.


Penn's proposal integrates casino games with horse racing, according to a company statement. It would include video lottery terminals, live table games, a poker room, a hotel with a pool and spa, and an event center. Penn said the project would generate more than 7,000 jobs.

"We believe our proposed Hollywood Casino Resort at Rosecroft Raceway represents the best way forward for Prince George's County and the state of Maryland as it ensures the track's long-term viability, provides further stability to the local horsemen and the state's horse racing industry, brings significant new investment and employment to the area and will be a long-term driver of elevated economic activity," said Tim Wilmott, Penn National Gaming's president and chief operating officer, in a statement.

Penn National, which spent $44 million trying to defeat last November's referendum to add a sixth casino in Maryland, was expected to compete against MGM. The owner of Rosecroft Raceway reported in a recent regulatory filing that it intended to bid for the Prince George's casino license, though it wasn't confident of the outcome.

Greenwood Racing, which operates Pennsylvania's biggest casino in terms of revenue, has proposed a casino resort with 4,750 slot machines, 170 table games and a 250-room hotel. It would be located on a 22-acre site more than five miles south of the Beltway on Indian Head Highway.

Tony Ricci, Greenwood's CEO, said in a statement the Parx casino is a "game-changing" opportunity for Maryland that would generate more than 5,000 jobs and more than $1 billion a year in "annual benefit."

While MGM did not release details about its proposal on Thursday because of state restrictions, Lorenzo Creighton, president and chief operating officer of MGM National Harbor, said the company stands by commitments made last year as it campaigned to expand gambling in Maryland, including bringing thousands of jobs to the area.

In June, Chairman and CEO James J. Murren said MGM Resorts International was willing to invest about $600 million in a casino at National Harbor. That's on top of $200 million expected from the Peterson Cos., owner of the resort and conference center development along the Potomac River.

The casino could have about 200 table games and 4,000 slot machines, Murren said at the time, making it the state's second-largest behind Maryland Live Casino in Anne Arundel County.


"We're living up to our commitment," Creighton said outside the gaming control agency's offices. "It will be a world-class resort very similar to what we built" elsewhere.

MGM, the world's largest casino operator, said the National Harbor property would be designed and operated similarly to its other hotels, such as the Bellagio, MGM Grand and Mirage in Las Vegas.

Creighton said the National Harbor location off Interstate 95 is attractive, with 300,000 cars per day going by the site and as many as 20 million tourists annually visiting the Baltimore-Washington corridor.

"The marketplace is phenomenal," Creighton said. "The economics here are really solid, and it fits well with the type of resorts we build."

MGM's bid was several hundred pages long and submitted in 13 boxes — one original and a dozen copies.

The stakes are high for Penn National. Failing to win the license, it said in the regulatory filing, would hurt its finances because of new competition for its Hollywood Casino Perryville and Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in West Virginia.


Penn National's Cecil County casino has struggled since Maryland Live opened in June. Despite having added 20 table games in early March, Hollywood Casino Perryville continues to see revenue drop. In April, it took in nearly $8.44 million, down from $10.7 million a year earlier.

The gaming control agency is expected to award the bid at the end of this year. The casino cannot open until 2016.