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Prince George's County Exec Supporting National Harbor Casino

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Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker is supporting a high-end casino at National Harbor.
Ron Cogswell (http://www.flickr.com/photos/22711505@N05/6415653091/)
Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker is supporting a high-end casino at National Harbor.

Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker is supporting gambling in the county, saying he'd like to see a high-end casino at National Harbor. Baker's administration announced his support for the idea yesterday.

The county executive's office hired a consultant to determine the best location for a casino in the county, and National Harbor came out on top, according to the Associated Press.

Baker was connected earlier this month to a bill sponsored by State Sen. Douglas J.J. Peters (D) that would allow slot machines in the Prince George's County, although at the time, his office declined to confirm Baker's support for slots.

Now, the county executive is saying that if gaming does come to Prince George's County, it should be in the form of a "world-class destination facility that features gaming, live shows, dining, and lodging." 

In a statement issued yesterday evening, Baker added that he will only support Peters' bill if it is amended to address certain issues. "I want to ensure that it does not compromise who we are as a county, alter our focus on growing our commercial tax base, or hinder us from providing the level of service and amenities that our citizens deserve," Baker said.

Maryland lawmakers would have to pass legislation to allow the casino, and voters would have to approve the idea in a referendum. It would be the sixth casino allowed in Maryland under the law. 

Baker's administration estimates the county could generate about $49 million annually from the gambling tax revenue as well as property, income, hotel and amusement taxes.  The casino would cost about $1 billion to build.

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