MGM National Harbor to open Dec. 8; MGM pitches Atlanta on casino benefits

TAGs: Georgia, Jim Murren, Maryland, MGM Resorts, national harbor

mgm-national-harbor-casino-openingCasino operator MGM Resorts has set a Dec. 8 opening date for its new National Harbor property in Maryland.

On Monday, MGM announced that it was officially accepting room reservations for its new $1.4b National Harbor, Maryland’s sixth and final casino. Nightly rates for the 308-room property start at the low, low price of $399, with suites available starting at $599.

In addition to plenty of gaming options, the property also features a 3k-seat live theater, two nightclubs, 18k-square feet of retail therapy and plenty of dining options, including Bellagio Patisserie, a European-themed pastry shop offering a 26-foot-tall chocolate fountain that will circulate two tons of melted chocolate.

A little further south, MGM is renewing its push to bring legal casino gambling to the state of Georgia. Recent years have seen the state make a couple of runs at passing legislation to amend the state constitution to permit casino operation but these efforts have so far come up short.

MGM, which has been hungrily eyeing the possibility of opening a casino in the tourist-rich city of Atlanta for a few years now, is back lobbying Georgia influencers on making another casino push. MGM CEO Jim Murren was in Atlanta on Monday, promoting the benefits of casino gambling to the Rotary Club.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution quoted Murren saying MGM’s proposed $1.4b-plus resort would drive new tourism rather than compete with the region’s existing draws. Besides, Murren said Georgians already spend $600m per year travelling to out-of-state casinos, so why not keep that money in the state?

Murren claimed that a casino wouldn’t compete with the state lottery, meaning no negative impact on the lottery-funded HOPE Scholarship, which provides higher education funding for deserving students. Murren also claimed the MGM property would create up to 4k new jobs.

Arguing that MGM properties already derive two-thirds of their revenue from non-gaming amenities, Murren insisted that MGM wasn’t interested in creating a bare-bones ‘box of slots,’ preferring “the type of resorts that provide a nexus between entertainment, hospitality and gaming.”


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