MGM files proposal for Maryland resort after costly battle

Thu May 9, 2013 6:11pm EDT
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By Sue Zeidler

(Reuters) - MGM Resorts International (MGM.N: Quote) on Thursday filed a proposal with the state of Maryland to develop an $800 million casino resort, after winning the right to proceed with the project in a costly lobbying effort against rival Penn National Gaming Inc (PENN.O: Quote).

MGM filed its proposal for a license with the Maryland Video Lottery Facility Location Commission to develop the resort on 20 acres of waterfront property in National Harbor in Prince George's County, just south of Washington, D.C.

Maryland voters in November passed a controversial measure to expand gambling in the state, which enabled MGM to proceed with its bidding. The measure, known as Maryland Question 7, permitted bidding for a sixth casino license.

Penn National, which already operates a casino in the state, opposed the expansion.

Maryland officials said the combined lobbying costs of nearly $90 million was a record amount spent on any one initiative.

MGM paid the majority of the $45.3 million spent by a consortium including Peterson Development Cos LLC and local unions that backed the measure, while Penn National spent about $42 million in opposing it.

Penn National sought to protect its Rosecroft Raceway facility in Fort Washington, Maryland, which is also in Prince George's county.

Penn bought the raceway for $10.25 million in a bankruptcy auction in 2011 in hopes of revitalizing it as a casino. It said on Thursday it will also file a proposal with the commission by its deadline on Friday, but has low expectations of winning the license.   Continued...

A visitor walks past the MGM Grand Macau resort in Macau February 15, 2011. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu