Friday Question of the Day – Will You Visit the MGM Casino when it opens at the National Harbor?

Rendering via MGM National Harbor

Last Friday we learned that “MGM Resorts International (MGM), the largest owner of casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, was picked by Maryland regulators to build a $925 million resort south of Washington” at the National Harbor.

From MGM National Harbor:

“At National Harbor, we envision far more than just a casino. We will call on our years of worldwide resort experience to design a fully-appointed Destination Resort Casino that specifically respects the atmosphere of Prince George’s County and meets the needs of the sophisticated Maryland marketplace.

MGM National Harbor would be designed and operated at the same level of quality as our other iconic hotels, including Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, ARIA, The Mirage and others. The design and aesthetics would reflect the history and geography of the area, complementing the already successful development and increasing the allure for out-of-state visitors.

While the work of our designers is still underway, our vision for a National Harbor Destination Resort Casino would include:

a luxury hotel
fine dining from local and celebrity chefs
world-class entertainment
shops from among the finest retailers in the world
a luxurious spa

These and other attractive resort offerings would combine to create the complete MGM Resorts experience. Anyone who has ever visited one of our resorts understands the uniqueness of what we offer. MGM National Harbor would be no different.”

The National Harbor is located in Prince George’s county at 165 Waterfront St. Directions from DC say “Take I-295 South for approximately 5.5 miles Take National Harbor Exit 1B”. The casino is expected to open in 2016.

So for this week’s FQotD – do you think you guys will visit/gamble there when they open?

Rendering via MGM National Harbor

115 Comment

  • I actually like the National Harbor, even though I never go because it’s a pain to get to. But I have absolutely zero interest in casinos. I guess I might go if there’s some good dining or entertainment a la Vegas.

    • National Harbor is not a “pain to get to”, it’s right off of 295. If you’re coming from DC, it’s a breeze to get to.

      • But you have to drive – so rent/borrow a car if you haven’t got your own, figure out a designated driver, and park. There are lots of transit-accessible places that I’d prioritize above National Harbor for that reason. I’ve never been so excited about an event there that it’s been worth the extra time and trouble.

        • Right, I should have said “it’s a breeze to get to if you have a car (or know someone who will give you a ride)”. I thought that was implied when I mentioned 295, as generally mentioning a highway means that transit by car is the expected mode of transportation.

      • *If you have a car* it is a breeze to get to. Per WMATA, it would take about two hours by public transit.

        • Stop for a second. Think. Not everyone lives where you live in the DC Metro Area.

          • Stop for a second. Think. Most of PoP’s readers live in the district, and I bet a huge chunk of them, if not a majority, don’t have cars.

          • And this means what? That you never, ever leave the city? You never travel beyond where the metro goes? There are plenty of people who live in the city, without cars, that don’t live 2 hours away from NH by public transport. Not everyone is so helpless they don’t know how to rent a zipcar.

            The reality is, most of the people bemoaning no public transportation out there wouldn’t go anyway. Just say that. No one is going to build a metro stop to a casino for privileged white folks who don’t gamble to not go out there. Maybe, just maybe, this wasn’t planned with you in mind.

          • Stop for a second. Think. And then show me where I asserted that everyone did live where I live. I was responding to the poster who said that getting to the National Harbor was easy and telling them that the information I have available to me does not support that assertion. I’m not sure how that is such a controversial statement for you. A lot of city people don’t have cars, and not everyone can afford to spend a lot of money or time traveling out into the suburbs.

            Yes, people can rent Zipcars, if they belong to Zipcar in the first place. But renting for longer than a few hours gets pricey, especially on the weekends. And going to a casino isn’t something that you can generally do quickly, especially if you’re having dinner or seeing a show. I haven’t seen anyone here asking for a Metro stop, just a convenient way to get there. Maybe a Circulator line? They are obviously trying to make the NH a destination, so it would follow that they should be trying to help that goal by making it easy for non-locals to get there. But per WMATA, there does not seem to be happening at the moment.

            Also, I’m not sure how you are seeing this as a privilege and race issue. Because it would seem to me that privileged people would probably have cars to be able to drive there, making the public transit issue moot. You don’t know my race or SES, so that is a big assumption on your part.

            And for the record, I would love it if the NH were more accessible, because I would be a regular at the outlet mall if it weren’t such a PITA to get to. But again, going to an outlet mall isn’t exactly an in-and-out proposition, and paying Zipcar rates to take an afternoon there on a regular basis will get expensive fast. Sorry if that doesn’t fit the angry narrative in your head.

          • Haha, wow. I’m the OP and I actually have a car and live very close to 295. I just hate driving, especially when there are so many great things in the area I can walk to.

    • Linc Park SE

      Maybe you can teleport there – they seem to be channeling Star Trek…..

  • I see what you did, choosing the most non-contentious question for the week few people are around anyway. 🙂

  • gotryit

    No thanks. Not a gambler in that sense. I don’t enjoy losing money. Or pissing it away on that kind of luxury.

  • clevelanddave

    Not if I can help it. Some out of town guests may want to go or there might be an event at that location and I’ll be compelled to go.

    PS That design is just poor and will probably look awful in 20 years. it will be a blight on the region. Then again, what 20 year old casino looks good? Maybe Ceasar’s in Las Vegas perhaps?

  • No. Not interested.

  • Sure. I’m not one to hit a casino more than once every few years, but when I do why not this one? It’ll be high end and convenient. 1000x better than the crap @ Charlestown or Atlantic City. I suspect this place will be quite the draw all across the region. HUGE boon to MD tax coffers, not to mention a $1B project + 4,000 permanent jobs (and another 2,000 construction jobs) + luxury dining/shopping/lodging in PG is amazingly good news on its own.

  • Nope, zero interest in gambling. Zero zero interest in going to National Harbor to gamble

  • Nope, not interested in gambling nor in visiting National Harbor. Went once and it was one time too much.

  • No interest once so ever. I’d much rather play poker with friends than random strangers.

  • sure, we’ll check out the spectacle.

  • justinbc

    I’ve never visited National Harbor and have zero inclination to do so, no matter who builds there. If they extended the Metro out to there I might consider it, but as it is now it’s like being on a really generic, touristy island.

  • binpetworth

    Sure, why not? I go to National Harbor about once a year–I really like shopping at Stonewall Kitchen, checking out the Peeps store, and sampling wines at the Tasting Room. I’d be up for trying my luck and blowing $5-10 on the slot machines while I’m there.

  • Probably not. I rarely gamble, and if I felt like going to a casino I would go to Arundel Mills. It’s closer to me and parking is free there. Plus, I could also stop by Bass Pro Shop and pick up some ammo.

  • Wow. People need to relax a little bit. National Harbor isn’t for everyone, but I’ve been to a couple restaurants there, taken a boat cruise, and also they have fireworks on weekends in the summer. Sure it may be kind of generic and touristy, but you live in *washington dc*. It’s actually quite nice on that little island sometimes. Sometimes edgy back alley fusion concepts aren’t for everyone either, and it can be a good place to take your family- if you have a car.
    The casino? I’m not a gambler either, but lord knows I have wasted my money on other crap in my lifetime, so I’m not morally against it. I’ve been to a few casinos, yet I don’t ever remember losing more than five bucks. And who knows, there may be some cool shows, concerts, and/or boxing matches that may take place. Maybe one of your friends will want to have a party there. So while I won’t be going every weekend, I may find an occasion to go. And there is nothing wrong with that.

  • No, and we should be embarrassed that there is one this close to DC. I don’t care what marketing noise the promoters come at you with, casinos are nothing but the lowest common denominator, making billions off the people in our society least able to lose it. The region has an enormous population of poor people who, like the poor surrounding every other low end or high end casino, will take their check to the casino every week hoping to win big. Oh, jobs…tax revenue! For a few years, until the other casinos in the regional pipeline get built, then the money goes elsewhere. That’s why the existing operators in MD and WVA and Pa put up such a fight. In 10 years, we will be likeAtlantic city, having to bail out our casinos with tax dollars because their are too many of them and too few poor gullible people to fund them

    • How is going to a casino any different from buying a lottey ticket? Maybe we should ban lotteries and Keno since poor people lose money on them.

      • I’d figure its significantly harder to blow serious cash on $1 lotto tickets over a couple days/years. Also, I believe lottery tickets fund public programs that arguably benefit the public (A “stupid tax”), whereas casino profits are privatized.

        I believe casinos are more predatory in both scale and tactics.

      • Because the 7-11 where you stopped to buy isn’t pumping pure O2 into the air , or plying you with free drinks, or without clocks so you can’t tell how long you’ve been there. Lotto tickets are one and done, you go in and 2 minutes later you walk out, and usually one doesn’t go in after they get their social security check, and blow it all on mega millions tickets in one sitting. Everything about a casino, visually, architecturally, chemically and chronologically is designed to keep you there until you’ve been bled dry.

        Lastly, as I said before, the supply of gambling dollars is finite, each new casino that opens draws revenue from another and to keep their investment alive, state regulators have to renegotiate down, the percentage of revenues the state gets, letting the casino keep more money, which is what the MD state legislature has Already done twice in the past 2 years, along with PA, WVA, and Delaware.

        • People who are equating casino gambling to buying lotto tickets have clearly never done either. Apples and Kiwis.

          • I’ve done both, and to me they’re both gambling.

          • Anon@ 9:47 am:

            That they are both gambling is not in question. It is the magnitude of the potential loss in terms of money, time, and community resources that differentiates them, among many other things.

        • I am pretty sure the casino companies understand the diminishing returns you describe, but nevertheless MGM is willing to invest $1 billion to build this project, That implies that they are pretty confident that the revenue stream will be strong even if it diminishes. And as for new casinos of the future, sure they’re possible, but none are on the horizon yet. Maryland has already established their slate, and I cannot foresee Viginia getting into gaming anytime soon. But maybe it willl happen – someday – and maybe the MGM National Harbor won’t last forever, but what does? Malls, hotels, resorts, office parks – every type of economic development project – decline over time and many are closed and cease operations. This may well happen to the casino eventually, but in the meantime, there’s a lot of revenue for the state and a lot of people getting paychecks.

        • Agree with Nosir. Too many people go into a casino and say they’ll quit gambling when they’ve lost $20, or $50, or $100. Then, five hours later and after three trips to the ATM, they walk out after losing $1000 and can’t pay rent. There’s a different thinking process when you gamble in a casino versus playing the megamillions. The casinos get you thinking that if you keep playing a little longer, you’ll get back to even. But there’s a reason they can build billion dollar buildings, and it’s not because they lose money.

      • jburka

        Yup. They’re both gambling. Ban ’em all or allow ’em all. I don’t really care either way, as I don’t waste money on either. I see both as a means of raising municipal/state funds without the oh-so-horrible need to raise taxes, which Grover Norquist has made largely impossible anyway.

  • I’m going. MGM runs good casinos. I’m glad that they were selected (or won the bidding) for the National Harbor site. It will be nice addition to the region.

  • Willing to bet that a lot of the people who reflexively answered “no” didn’t even read the accompanying post and just responded to the question in the post title. Otherwise, they would have seen this:

    “While the work of our designers is still underway, our vision for a National Harbor Destination Resort Casino would include:

    a luxury hotel
    fine dining from local and celebrity chefs
    world-class entertainment
    shops from among the finest retailers in the world
    a luxurious spa”

    I mean, who just randomly says “no, I will never go to a place with great chefs and quality retail”? Now if the question was “will you *gamble* in the casino”, that’s a lot more likely to get a no from what appears to be this site’s demo (middle class folks). casinos generally draw in the poor and uneducated, while the middle class goes more sophisticated gambling, a la the stock market. LMAO.

    • justinbc

      I read it. All of those things I can get in actual DC.

      • Sure you can, from numerous neighborhoods, but because all those things are available in several different parts of DC, does that make it rational to say “No, I will seek those things out from *that* area”, unless you’re just opposed to spending money outside of DC….which I kind of am, actually, myself.

        • justinbc

          There’s just zero incentive to go somewhere else to get the same thing I can get here, because I don’t gamble. If I were a gambler, then yes I would absolutely take advantage of it.

    • gotryit

      I read those things too, and took the (not so subtly) coded language to mean: “luxury, world-class, finest” = “out of my price range”. It just screams overpriced to me. Maybe it won’t be, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • I will go provided they don’t have a ton of silly rules that often accompany new casino projects in different states. For example, I recently went to a casino right near the airport in Chicago and they imposed a rule that drinks would not be free. I mean pay for a drink while giving them my money. Ridiculous.

  • jim_ed

    Sure, I’ll go at some point. However I imagine like most new casinos, it’ll have absurdly high table minimums for the first few years, which will limit how often I go.

  • i will go to play poker, not slots.

  • I would definitely go for the restaurants, high end shopping, and entertainment. MGM builds classy properties. Even their downtown Detroit property is very nice. Once they are in business, I expect we will see a lot more options for getting to National Harbor, perhaps even water taxis.

  • Man, Popville can be an uptight bunch. Yeah, I’ll check it out. Won’t make a weekly habit of it, but it seems fun and out of the ordinary – and a hell of a lot closer than Vegas! I am not really into gambling but anyone who has been to Vegas knows that the actual gambling part *can* be just a fun entertaining side attraction – I hope they do some cool shows also!

    • +1. I fail to see how having a near $1B luxury product within 15 minutes is a bad thing. You don’t like gambling? Go see a show or eat at a nice restaurant. I’m really happy to have this in the works.

      • justinbc

        It’s not a bad thing (to me), but that wasn’t the question. For people living in DC there are plenty of nice (re: better) restaurants here, and lots of venues to see shows as well. And in DC it doesn’t require driving, parking, and not being able to drink and still return home without breaking the law (or paying a crazy amount for a taxi).

        • The draw is probably more for people living in the suburbs who have cars and find driving into the city and parking to be no more or less a pain than driving to National Harbor and doing it.

          It is obviously more of a draw for people who would drive out to Charles Town or to Atlantic City to actually gamble. I’m curious if this won’t be the death knell for Atlantic City, which has been suffering financially for a while now. The new Revel there declared bankruptcy recently.

          As someone who likes to go to Atlantic City once or twice a year for a fun gambling weekend (and I hate to break it to some of you people, there are people who like to gamble who aren’t living paycheck to paycheck – not all people gambling are poor people blowing what little money they have on a dream of getting rich), I would probably stop and go here instead. So long as the drinks are free and there are smoking sections.

          All in all, I think the billion dollar development is not meant to entertain the DC city residents. It is meant to draw in from from Virginia and Maryland and West Virginia people who would otherwise travel to Atlantic City to gamble. I’m pretty excited to see what entertainment they will have. It is no worse going here than to any of the concert venues outside of the city. It’ll also be a good draw for the conventions that go to National Harbor. I can see a lot of events for those conventions involving a night over to gamble.

          • “All in all, I think the billion dollar development is not meant to entertain the DC city residents.”
            I think you’re exactly right, but the readership here is overwhelmingly (if not entirely) DC city residents, hence the prevalent sentiment that folks on here aren’t that interested.

          • justinbc

            Yeah, I have several wealthy friends who live in DC and love to gamble. I’m sure they’ll go there. I don’t gamble, so for me that’s the only aspect that I can’t otherwise just get down the street. I have lots of fun in Vegas, but I frankly don’t expect Vegas-caliber entertainment from one single resort.

      • Yeah, having multiple billion dollar properties I’m Atlantic city has “really” helped them now hasn’t it?

        It’s the use, not the value that makes it a worthwhile regional asset.

  • Absolutely! Nothing like it in the area, so will be nice to have something different and high-end. Very curious about the restaurant offerings. We go to NH every now and then (just went to see Ice and it was fun). Easy to get to, so not sure how that’s a complaint. No, it’s not metro accessible but that doesn’t mean it’s the boonies. Sure it’s a fake town, but it’s clean, nobody hassling for money, pretty, and nice views. That whole area is getting more interesting with all the development. Looking forward to the casino and all that brings.

  • National where? No.

  • I live in Congress Heights. which is centrally located to Old Town, National Harbor and downtown. I like the outlets at the Harbor and the Gaylord is amazing. I don’t think i will ever need to go back downtown and drive around endlessly looking for a parking spot since NW has no parking garages outide of downtown core. I’m not really a gambler, but the proximity to a nearly billion dollar faciltiy can only help property values and encourage other development East of the River.

    The only shame is that is not in DC proper.

    • justinbc

      I seriously doubt you will see an increase in property values in Congress Heights as a result of a casino being built in Fort Washington. If there are it would be marginal at best. The DHS facility would have a more immediate impact for you.

  • What strange and revealing comments… sounds like a lot of strange hating going on. As if Oxon Hill were some distance planet.

    I for one can’t wait to visit and have some fun!

  • The food is usually good at MGM facilities, so I might go to check that out, but I won’t be going there to pay the stupidity tax.

  • Nope, won’t go. I don’t gamble (prefer to invest my money in the stock market which has a guaranteed return over the long term), the stuff at National Harbor is already overpriced and will become more so once this opens, and NH is a pain in the butt to get to via public transport (I don’t own a car and have no interest in drunk driving). Aside from the gambling, everything that this development offers can be had in downtown DC. No need for me to trek out to MD.
    Will this be good for the government of MD, from an economic standpoint? Sure. Tax coffers will fill up, jobs will be created, more people will be drawn to this area, and dining/entertainment options will be expanded for local residents.

    • “the stock market which has a guaranteed return over the long term”?? Guaranteed?? I’ll give you “very likely” for low risk investments, but it’s specifically not guaranteed.

      • Yes, a well diversified exposure to the stock market is virtually guaranteed over the long term to provide a sizable return. Stick it in an index fund for 40 years and you will see that money grow. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better odds of making money than gambling at a money pit.

  • Question: will this casino be non-smoking?

    We visit Arundel Mills occasionally (a mentally and physically exhausting trip), but I need some outlet retail therapy once in a while and my fiance likes to play slots. We each go in with $20, find the most ridiculous slot games, play for an hour, grab a drink, listen to some music, and leave. But, we leave smelling like ashtrays. If this place is non-smoking inside, then we’ll go here over Arundel Mills anyday.

  • justinbc

    You should definitely avoid actual DC then, probably way more than you could handle.

  • No. I still haven’t forgiven National Harbor for stealing “The Awakening”.

  • If the caliber of acts and shows they get is anything like what the casinos in Vegas get, then there will probably be something that draws me in eventually. And I’m in for fancy restaurants, but we have a bunch downtown that don’t require a long trip to get to. And gambling isn’t my thing. So I doubt that I would make the trip more than every once in a while.

  • No.
    I don’t have a moral objection to gambling but I do have a moral objection to bad urban planning, ugly design and corporate restaurants.

  • skj84

    Sure why not? Sounds like visiting would be a fun weekend getaway without leaving town. I don’t gamble but I think it may be fun to try once or twice.

  • Shit yea!!!

    I absolutely cannot wait for this thing to open. I will be first in line opening day.

  • I’ve been marooned at National Harbor for several large conferences and it is awful compared to being at a DC hotel. However if NH was accessible via public transit I would be pretty likely to attend events like Beer Bourbon and BBQ fests and I would certainly make the trek to go gambling with friends from time to time.

    However from a public policy standpoint I’ve never liked the idea of having casinos readily accessible to almost every major city in America (which seems to be the norm now). I know it’s probably hypocritical but I never lose more than I can afford to when I gamble and I know a large percentage of gamblers do and they’re usually the ones who can least afford to lose. It just seems like there are better ways to foster economic development.

  • Yes, along with 50-75% of the people who said no.

  • I’ll visit it. I won’t go often because it’s a venue where I’d like to enjoy a few drinks and so I won’t drive, and it’s not a quick commute via public transit. I’ll probably only go once or twice a year.

  • Casinos are just vulgar. Even high-end rich-people casinos are vulgar.

    • +1. I don’t think anyone describes Atlantic City is a classy place. And I’m not surprised that this casino is going to be located in a comparatively down-and-out part of the D.C. suburbs — I can’t see areas like Bethesda, Arlington, etc. wanting to be home to a casino.

    • Corporate gambling by your lonesome self is vulgar, tacky, without class, and depressing. And let’s face it – that’s what most gamblers at big casinos are doing. They’re not spending time with friends or family – they are there alone.
      Playing poker with friends or betting on a sports game with coworkers? That’s just fun and building camaraderie. Even if money is exchanging hands, it’s “betting” not “gambling.” There’s a difference, IMO.

      • so many of you have such high standards when applied to others. If you don’t like gambling then don’t do it. What is vulgar is telling other people what they should and should not do. pathetic.

  • I doubt I’ll go to the MGM Casino. I’ve been to National Harbor just once, and haven’t felt compelled to return, and I don’t gamble.
    Agreed with others that casinos prey on the people who can least afford them. Yeah, yeah, I know — nobody is being forced to go to a casino, people have free will, etc…. but the reality of it is that casinos act like a magnet for people of little means. The lottery is bad enough — it functions as a “regressive tax” — but at least with a state-run lottery, the sponsoring government gets a share of the proceeds. Casinos enable people to throw away a lot more money at a time.

  • I’m there. Definitely good territory for a guy’s night out with my buddies.
    Do I have a car? No. But like everyone else in DC, I’ve got friends with cars.
    Is it tacky? Yes, but so is H street country club (sorry hipsters).
    Am I a gambler? No, the an opportunity to play a few rounds of poker with the guys in a pretty cool environment is enough to get me out there.
    Will I be alone? No way. Tens of thousands of us drive out to PGC to blow hundreds of dollars watching pathetic excuse for a football team. So why not waste our money on craps instead? It’s just as fun, and the odds celebrating a victory are about the same.

  • HELL YES. I am a huge poker player.

  • brookland_rez

    I’ve been to NH once or twice. I own a car. The problem is that it’s all off on its own. It has to be a something of a destination to make it worth making a special trip to. For me, there’s just not enough there for it to be a destination to me, MGM included. The whole place feels like a Disneyland. Fake stucco buildings, etc. The only people I know that go there are lame 50-something coworkers that live in PG county. And tourists. Count me as not interested.

  • Only if the drinks AND the parking are free for playa’s. Otherwise I’d have no dough left to gamble with.

  • Yup! got to get my points up for when i visit Vegas 🙂 Comp Comp Comp!

  • Of course. It’s just another form of entertainment in the DMV. You would literally be stupid not to take advantage of it, even if you do not gamble. MGM’s are so much more than just gambling, and then you’ll have the outlets and the activities at the Harbor to take advantage while you’re there.

Comments are closed.