Baker: Union jobs at casino to generate up to $50M

\'\'(Disney) got caught up in the economic times,\'\' says Prince George\'s County Executive Rushern Baker. (WTOP/Paul D. Shinkman)
A Casino at National Harbor?

wtopstaff | November 14, 2014 4:11 am

Paul D. Shinkman, wtop.com
Twitter: @ShinkmanWTOP

WASHINGTON – The proposed $1 billion high-end casino project in Prince George’s County would generate up to $50 million per year and provide 5,000 permanent unionized jobs, the county’s chief executive told WTOP on Friday.

“I don’t want to have ‘slot barns’ where people spend their last dime,” Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker told WTOP’s Mike Moss and Bruce Alan of his recently proposed casino at National Harbor. “If we build a high-end facility, we’d attract people from Northern Virginia, D.C….and the East Coast.”

Concerns of drug use, prostitution and gambling addiction that have plagued other gaming projects would be offset, Baker says, by using portions of the $40 million to $50 million in projected revenues for public safety, for non profits “standing in the gap” of social issues and for “housing stabilization.”

The jobs created would pay $35,000 to $50,000 per year, and would have to be unionized and provide benefits such as health care.

Prince George’s residents will vote on the proposed project in an upcoming referendum. Gaming is already legal in the state.

Baker also expressed his support for a bag tax, called a “bag fee,” in the county, mirroring other regional programs.

“It’s worked in D.C.,” Baker says. “I’d like to see us debate it in Upper Marlboro.”

Learn more about the project by listening to the full audio of the county executive at right.

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