MGM National Harbor gets final casino OK with license signing

WASHINGTON — MGM got one last bit of important paperwork out of way ahead of Thursday’s grand opening, with the signing of its operational license by the director of Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director Gordon Medenica at a noon ceremony.

The slot machines and the dealers have already had their first workout, too.

As part of earning its operational license, the casino had to go through two demonstrations under the supervision of Maryland Lottery and Gaming. Both demonstrations tested and assessed the facility’s systems and controls, including more 3,321 slot machines and 165 table games, internal controls, employee training, technical systems and other operations.

About 7,500 people took park in the controlled demonstrations, gambling with real money.

The casino’s share of the gaming proceeds have been donated to local nonprofits, including the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s Department of Parks and Recreation in Prince George’s County, the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation Back to School Fair, the Alice Ferguson Foundation of Accokeek and the Foundation School of Prince George’s County.

Neither the casino nor Maryland Lottery and Gaming immediately disclosed how much money was gambled, or donated during the demonstration sessions Dec. 1 and Dec. 5.

“MGM National Harbor successfully demonstrated that it has met the state’s legal and regulatory requirements and is ready to open,” Medenica said at Wednesday’s license signing.

MGM National Harbor will open to the public 11 p.m. Thursday as the state’s sixth casino.

The first of Maryland five existing casinos opened in 2010. Since then, casinos have generated about $4.28 billion in gaming revenue for the state.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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