Prince George’s County Exec Eyes Billion-Dollar Casino Complex
Rushern Baker says if gambling comes to county, it must be “world class.”
As a bill that would expand gambling in the state, particulary in Prince George’s County, works its way through the Maryland General Assembly, County Executive Rushern L. Baker said Thursday that he supports a $1 billion entertainment complex at National Harbor.
“I have determined that if gaming comes to Prince George’s County, it must be a high-end facility. I believe we should develop a world-class destination facility that features gaming, live shows, dining, and lodging,” he said in a statement. “I envision a facility that attracts tourist, visitors, meetings and conventions from all over the world.”
Baker’s comments come just days after the county council gave a thumbs-down vote to a proposed gambling bill in the General Assembly. Council members said that bill failed to specify what revenues generated by slots would go to the county.
While Baker agreed that the current bill had its flaws, he said that the county should create a facility that can attract the kind of tourism that would create jobs and boost the county’s economy.
The gambling bill was introduced by Sen. Douglas J.J. Peters (D-Dist. 23) in the state Senate and in the House by Del. Barbara Frush (D-Dist. 22).
“A $1 billion entertainment complex would bolster travel and tourism for our county, help us grow our commercial tax base, create nearly 5,000 new jobs, provide revenue to help us fund education and public safety,” Baker said. “… National Harbor is the perfect location for this high-end $1 billion entertainment complex.”
But the legalization of slots in the county still faces an uphill battle. The Washington Post reports that the bill would need support of county officials, and that the General Assembly would need to pass legislation to allow a casino in the county. Voters also would also have to weigh in and approve legislation in a statewide referendum.