MGM Resorts International might be best known for their iconic hotel in Las Vegas, but they have continued to expand their brand into new territories. The latest opening comes from the nation's capital with a $1.4 billion resort that could be a boon for the area.
The MGM National Harbor casino resort opened on Thursday and there was quite the hype surrounding the ribbon-cutting. It caused traffic delays on the Capital Beltway as not only gamblers wanted to get in and play, but people just wanted to see what all the fuss was about. That caused an early estimate of 50,000 visitors by noon on Friday and it got to the point where people could only come in as people were leaving due to regulations. There were a few issues with patrons trying to push their way into the overcrowded casino, but overall there was no serious trouble other than the frustration of an hour's wait for a poker table.
The MGM National Harbor is just seven miles south of the White House. In case the brass that runs the country needed another distraction, they now have a place to get away. It was strategically placed in the region as Washington D.C. is one of the wealthiest areas in the country. It seems to be great for people that live in the D.C. area, who would normally have to go somewhere else to gamble such as Atlantic City or Las Vegas.
There are some concerns, however, over a saturated market that has seen Maryland become a hot spot for the casino industry. The MGM National Harbor is the sixth casino to open in Maryland. Nearby Pennsylvania and West Virgina have also been getting into the action, so there is some congestion in the neighborhood. There are some that are worried that the market will be oversaturated, but MGM believes that they have the goods to keep people coming to their casino for a long time.
Their level of quality is expected to be a cut above what's in the neighborhood too, which is highlighted by the fact that their entertainment and restaurants will be top-notch. There is a 3,000-seat theatre in which Bruno Mars and Cher are among those already booked to play. On the dining side of things, acclaimed chefs Marcus Samuelsson and Jose Andres will have outlets inside. And having a Shake Shack inside will also be a popular move.
The project has already brought a lot of positive energy to the area with over 4,000 new jobs, and an estimated $40-45 million in tax revenue for Prince George County (and more for the state).
Don't expect this casino to be jam-packed every day, but the MGM National Harbor is off to a great start. It seems like they have the facility to keep people coming in. MGM hotels are usually a stronger, sexier brand than many other casinos, so it should quickly become the most attractive gambling outlet on the block. And a great location - it's based in a wealthy area - should help the MGM National Harbor thrive for many years to come.