State officials review final details of Prince George's casino proposals

Members of a state casino site selection commission reviewed final details Thursday of three competing proposals for a casino in Prince George's County — including one that sweetened its offer since the commission met last week.

Greenwood Racing, which wants to build Parx casino on Route 210 in Fort Washington, said this week it will pay an additional $100 million, on top of $100 million already pledged, toward highway improvements near its casino site.


Greenwood is competing against proposals for a Hollywood Casino by Penn National Gaming at nearby Rosecroft Raceway and an MGM Resorts International casino at National Harbor.

All three are angling to win the coveted casino license for Prince George's, which was authorized by voters in 2012. The commission is expected to make a decision next week.


The $925 million MGM casino would have 3,600 slot machines and 140 table and poker games, while the $761 million Greenwood Racing facility would have 4,750 slot machines and 170 table and poker games. The Penn National casino would have 3,000 slots and 140 table and poker games.

During a conference call Thursday, members of the Maryland Video Lottery Facility Location Commission asked a few final questions of six consultants who evaluated details of the three proposals, including parking, nongambling amenities and projected revenues.

The consultants, who were hired by the state, also responded to criticism of their reports from applicants, mostly from Greenwood.

Jim Oberkirsch of Custom Gaming Consulting of Denver defended his analysis that MGM would attract more gamblers than Greenwood or Penn National because it's three to four minutes closer to the Capital Beltway.

Greenwood had questioned that finding, but Oberkirsch said differences in travel time are pronounced when measured against the length of an entire trip. For example, he said it would take gamblers from Arlington, Va., 25 minutes to drive to MGM's National Harbor site, compared with 29 minutes to Greenwood's Parx casino — a difference of 16 percent, which favors MGM.

"It's a formula that's been tried and tested over time," Oberkirsch said.

Last week, the consultants said MGM Resorts International resort and casino would bring in more gambling revenue and more tax revenue than the other two proposals. MGM has promoted its location at National Harbor — the closest of the three to gamblers in Virginia.

But other bidders touted attributes as well. Penn National promised to pay $26 million a year into the county's health care and teacher pension systems once the casino is fully operational.


And Greenwood said its traffic plan involves $200 million upgrades at two failing intersections along Route 210. The company's initial plan called for the casino to pay $100 million with the rest coming from government; but casino officials wrote in a letter this week they would increase that up front contribution to the full $200 million.

Following Thursday's conference call, commission members have a week to pore over reams of material before they make a final decision next week. The Maryland Video Lottery Facility Location Commission's meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Dec. 20 at Montgomery Park, 1800 Washington Blvd. in Baltimore.