MARYLAND

Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker backs National Harbor casino plan

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National Harbor has long been seen as a big-time money maker and job creator for cash-strapped Prince George's County.

County Executive Baker says there are few other options to bring this much revenue to the county. (Photo: Jay Westcott)

Along those lines, a new proposal for a high-end casino at the shopping and entertainment complex is gathering momentum, and it has at least one big political endorsement behind it.

Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker told the Washington Post that a casino on the county's Potomac River banks could help pay for a new regional medical center, along with school construction and repairs.

A casino at National Harbor could generate as much as $50 million per year and create 5,000 jobs. That would be on top of the 1,500 jobs that officials at the Maryland Live! Casino in Anne Arundel County, which is slated to open this summer, have offered.

"I think it's a good idea because people need to work," Victoria Wegand, a National Harbor patron, said. "People go outside the state to gamble anyway...you can't bring any more corruption that would happen with other businesses."

However, some residents of nearby Fort Washington are resistant to the idea of a large casino with more than 4,700 slot machines.

There are also infrastructure issues, which include the fact that Oxon Hill Road, one of the main roads that feeds into National Harbor from southern Prince George's County, is only two lanes.

Crowd sizes are also a concern, considering that a new Tanger outlet mall is set to be constructed and opened next year.

However, Baker told the Post that there are few options to bring in this much revenue.

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