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Massive DC Casino Sets Date For Long-Awaited Grand Opening

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter

A new D.C.-area casino announced the date for its highly anticipated grand opening Monday, promising thousands of jobs for the region and a devastating impact on already horrible traffic.

The MGM National Harbor will have its grand opening Dec. 8 and plans to announce various promotional events and concerts in the weeks ahead. Aside from the casino, the MGM National Harbor will have a conference center, hotel and 3,000-seat concert hall.

The casino opened its National Employment Center in June to begin staffing and training before the December opening. MGM will employ roughly 3,600 workers for roughly 100 different titles by the grand opening, reports The Washington Post.

MGM National Harbor is currently taking reservations for the property’s hotel, which will host visitors beginning Dec. 10.

“When people come see it, they are going to be awestruck,” Bill Boasberg, the resort’s general manager, told The Washington Post. “There is going to be something for everyone in this resort. We are not just targeting casino customers.”

MGM promised 40 percent of employees will be residents of Prince George’s County in its agreement with community officials. In addition to the new jobs the casino will create for the local community, MGM provided roughly 2,000 jobs during the construction process. The construction cost of the casino is estimated at roughly $1.3 billion.

Officials in the region are worried the MGM National Harbor, which sits in Prince George’s County, Maryland, will have ruinous impacts on traffic in the area. The National Harbor is a busy hub for travelers going in and out of Maryland. The number of vehicles on the National Harbor beltway increased by roughly 27,000 vehicles per day in the last seven years.

“The National Harbor will become a place where nobody wants to go because of all the gridlock and sitting in incessant, bumper-to-bumper traffic,” John Townsend, the manager of public and government affairs for AAA’s mid-Atlantic region said in July. “Now, at that spot, is a bottleneck. And the big question is what happens when a casino comes online?”

Officials in Prince George’s County are working with representatives from MGM to craft a plan to avoid the potential impact it will have on local roads, such as providing alternate travel routes. Officials will also encourage travelers to use public transportation so they can avoid the roadways.

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