Las Vegas on the Potomac: Casino Proposed for National Harbor

by UrbanTurf Staff

National Harbor in the afternoon. Courtesy Waterfront Street.

Slots? Blackjack? Roulette? If one Prince George’s County official gets his way, all those vices may eventually be just outside the DC borders.

On Thursday night, a $1 billion casino for National Harbor was proposed by P.G. County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, The Washington Post reported. Baker, once an opponent of slots, believes that the casino could produce “much-needed tax revenue” for the county and state.

The proposal is well-timed as legislation to add a sixth gaming site in Maryland and allow table games like blackjack, craps and roulette was introduced in the state assembly in recent weeks. Naturally, however, there is both support and vocal opposition to the project.

From the Post:

Jonathan Weaver, pastor at Greater Mount Nebo AME Church in Bowie, said he was dismayed by Baker’s proposal. “Who is he listening to? The citizens of Prince George’s County or other people who don’t live in this county who are trying to profit off the backs of people who live here?” he asked. “People are absolutely furious.”

In a statement Thursday, National Harbor’s developer, the Peterson Cos., and Gaylord Entertainment, the owner of the largest hotel on the property, said they “fully and enthusiastically embrace [Baker’s] proposal and are committed to facilitating such a development.”

Located in Prince George’s County almost directly across the river from Old Town, Alexandria, National Harbor opened in 2008 to much fanfare. The vision of Milton Peterson, a Northern Virginia real estate mogul who was behind the redevelopment of downtown Silver Spring, National Harbor is anchored by the Gaylord Hotel and Convention Center, a 2,000-room hotel with over 470,000 square feet of meeting space.

See other articles related to: prince george's, national harbor, casinos

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/las_vegas_on_the_potomac_casino_proposed_for_national_harbor/5156


  1. Dave R. said at 3:25 pm on Friday February 17, 2012:

    Great timing with DC just ousting Online Gaming a couple weeks back.

  1. Sondra S. said at 4:24 pm on Friday February 17, 2012:

    A horrible idea. With a god-awful outlet mall coming plus a proposed casino, PG County has enough issues with crime and such. This will only exacerbate the issue. Rushen Baker is a “yes man” and has no business being CE. When the harbor was proposed years ago, never did it cross my mind that they would turn this project into an amusement park for thieves and muggers. No wonder Disney pulled out of the Harbor.

  1. John D. said at 6:51 pm on Friday February 17, 2012:

    This is amazing…a waterfront casino and billion dollar development just outside of D.C.  I think its a great idea, I doubt PG county can get any worse, and millions more in tax revenue could go directly to schools and social services (which by the way rival that of inner city baltimore).  The tactics that have been used over the last 25 years have clearly not helped PG County and something like a casino will bring in new development and millions of revenue for local government.  Conventional wisdom and progress are usually on opposite sides of the spectrum.  Or keep doing what PG County has been doing, it has really been working…

  1. J.J. said at 12:42 pm on Sunday February 19, 2012:

    I am/was interested in purchasing a condo in the National Harbor but ever since they lost Disney I have been waiting to see what they would replace it with.  To me, a casino, whether it would be high-end or not, would definitely change the vibe of the area and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.  My gut instinct is that I am not in favor of the casino especially since the surrounding area is already a little sketchy.  I understand the need for revenue and the improvement in schools in Prince George’s County but a casino seems like an easy way out.  Don’t get me wrong, I like casinos.  I am a fan of Las Vegas.  But people go to Las Vegas for the high-end showtime magic.  I understand that the National Harbor will cater to those who want to hold conventions in the area but to throw one casino up and make it seem like an alternative to Las Vegas, the idea seems to not be thought out very well.  If people in the area want high-end casino gambling, they usually go to Las Vegas.  Those who cannot afford to go to Las Vegas will go to this National Harbor casino.  In the end, my thoughts are that this will not turn out to be a high-end casino like it is hoped to be, but one that fails to capture the audience that the National Harbor wants to draw.  And I feel that if this is built, those nay-sayers about the potential of the National Harbor will be right.

  1. swested said at 10:01 pm on Tuesday February 21, 2012:

    A casino is just what the National Harbor needs to truly seal the deal as being the most despicable artificial land redevelopment in recent history.

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