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Lawmaker Lining Up National Harbor Casino Deal

Md. House speaker preps for colleagues' potential approval

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Maryland lawmakers are weighing whether to allow a sixth casino for the state to be built at National Harbor in Prince George's County. The Maryland Live! casino, pictured here, opened earlier this month in Anne Arundel County.
Elliott Francis
Maryland lawmakers are weighing whether to allow a sixth casino for the state to be built at National Harbor in Prince George's County. The Maryland Live! casino, pictured here, opened earlier this month in Anne Arundel County.

Maryland lawmakers have yet to approve a special session to consider expanding gaming in the state or approve a sixth casino in the state for Prince George's County. But an agreement for a potential casino at the National Harbor  — should it be approved — is close to being in place.

Maryland House Speaker Mike Busch (D) met this week with an executive from MGM Hospitality and a National Harbor developer, he says. But, Busch added, he's not reading too much into the meeting yet because lawmakers still have a lot to weigh before a casino could be allowed in Prince George's County.

Milton Peterson, of National Harbor, and Michael Evans, MGM's executive vice president for global development, told the speaker they are poised to have an agreement for a casino, if one is approved at the development, Busch says.

The meeting took place Wednesday in Annapolis, just a day after a report was released showing a casino at National Harbor could bring in around $460 million in revenue per year. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has tasked a special work group with examining the implications of allowing the Prince George's County casino; if the committee recommends moving forward, O'Malley could convene a special legislative session in July to approve the new facility.

Jon Peterson, senior vice president of the Peterson Companies at National Harbor, would not elaborate on a possible agreement in a statement issued Thursday because a deal had not yet been reached.

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