MGM Resorts has confirmed that its $1.4 billion MGM National Harbor casino in Prince George’s county, Maryland will open to the public on December 8. The casino resort which overlooks the Potomac River is located on 23 acres and has casino floor covering 135,000 square feet. The casino will have 3,600 electronic gaming machines, 140 gaming tables and have a hotel with 300 rooms and suites.
The MGM National Harbor facility will also offer patrons a number of non-gaming facilities including a 3,000 seat theatre that will host conferences and live events. There will also be a number of high end restaurants which have well known chefs such as Marcus Samuelsson, brother Bryan and Michael Voltaggio and José Andrés. MGM National Harbor will be the sixth casino to open in Maryland and is expected to attract between 25,000 to 35,000 visitors on a daily basis.
Prince George county officials expect around 10,000 vehicles to visit the casino resort on a daily basis and expect these numbers to increase when special events like the Bruno Mars concert is held on December 27. The casino will open just before the holiday season beings and the MGM National team has hired nearly 3,600 employees to service this huge influx of customers. One of the biggest concerns for Prince George county officials and residents of the county is the massive increase in vehicular traffic.
Law enforcement has cautioned residents belonging to Oxon Hill, National Harbor, Forest Heights and Fort Washington to avoid using Oxon Hill Road during peak travel hours as they expect Oxon Hill Road to be really busy with visitors to the MGM National Harbor casino. The officials are looking to mitigate traffic issues by making use of message boards on the interstate and nearby roads to send casino traffic to ingress routes and reduce traffic congestion. Traffic engineers will be at hand to manage traffic signals when required and additional county police officers will be present to manage traffic.
The chief of Police for Prince George’s county, Henry P. Stawinski III met with a large group of casino neighbors and confirmed that there will be traffic congestion due to the large number of visitors to the casino and presented the group with a traffic mitigation plan. The police department will deploy around 65 officers to manage traffic and monitor intersections. Stawinski stated that close to 200 officers will be addressing MGM traffic flows on a daily basis but confirmed that none of these officers will be taken away from their regular duties but will be used based on their volunteered overtime.
Prince George’s county will absorb all these additional traffic related costs. In a statement, Bradley Frome, a close aide to County Executive Rushern L. Baker III “The county will pay for it. We are in discussion with MGM, but a lot of the off-site activity, off the grounds of the property, the county is going to be paying for.” The county is expected to make up to $45 million each year in gambling taxes from the MGM National Harbor facility.