CASINO

MGM’s Maryland casino on track for 2016 opening; Ottawa tribe pushing for raceway to become casino

TAGs: Kirby Garlitos, Maryland, MGM Resorts, Michigan

Seven months after securing building permits allowing it to begin construction of its $1.2 billion casino at National Harbor, casino operator MGM Resorts International says the project is on track to be completed in 2016.

MGM's Maryland casino on track for 2016 opening; Ottawa tribe pushing for raceway to become casinoFrigid conditions brought about by one of the coldest months in history haven’t stopped workers from pushing on with the construction as work on the development’s foundation is close to completion. MGM National Harbor President and CEO Lorenzo Creighton told the Washington Post that weather conditions have made it difficult to follow the timetable, but for the most part, workers were able to get through it.

Once the foundation on the 23-acre site is laid, development will continue at a rapid pace with the company expecting to have close to 1,000 workers working nearly around the clock by Memorial Day in order to meet its opening day target in the second half of next year.

Meanwhile, MGM officials also told the Post that it’s almost ready to commence hiring around 4,000 people to work in the resort’s hotels, restaurants, retail shops, entertainment venues, and of course, the casino.

“People think casino and they think dealers, bartenders and waiters. But company-wide, we make 70 percent of revenues from non-gaming sources,” MGM spokesman Gordon M. Absher said. “So while yes, we are going to have a casino and we will need dealers, we are also going to need chefs, and accountants, and hotel front desk agents, and supervisors, and spa technicians and retail managers.”

Over in Michigan, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, which currently operates the Manistee’s Little River Casino Resort, is reportedly pursuing another casino project on an old horse raceway. The Republic reported that the tribe filed an application with the Bureau of Indian Affairs to take 60 acres of land into trust for the $180 million casino to help jump-start the local economy and improve tribal government services.

The proposed site for the project is the old Great Lakes Downs racetrack in Fruitport Township in Muskegon County, 30 miles northwest of Grand Rapids. The property is already owned by the Little River Band, which purchased it in 2008, a year after the track closed down.

The Little River Band wants to put a 220-room hotel on the property to go with a casino and entertainment and dining options.

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