MGM International CEO Touts Benefits of New National Harbor Resort

WASHINGTON — MGM National Harbor resort opens on Thursday, and as the new staff prepares, the company’s CEO is already looking to the future.

“We know we can turn this resort into not only an American iconic brand and resort, but a global destination,” said MGM International CEO James Murren.

Speaking during a luncheon at the National Press Club on Friday, Murren said the billion-dollar casino and resort would be a destination for gamblers and, as an entertainment hub, would attract more travelers and encourage them to stay in the region longer.

“We think we will add a full half day to an international traveler’s visit to the D.C. region,” Murren said.

The extra time spent in the D.C. area would mean more money spent throughout the D.C. area, Murren said .

“If we simply just increase gaming revenue in the state of Maryland, we failed,” he said.

The million-square-foot resort is expected to bring in at least $40 million in tax revenue for Prince George’s County, Maryland — an estimate that Murren expects will be proven to be low.

The resort also has brought in 4,000 new jobs. Murren said 47 percent of the jobs went to people who live in Prince George’s County, where the resort will be based.

He said the resort received 40,000 applications.

Murren also addressed the expected increase in traffic once the resort opens, an issue that’s been around since the project was announced. He said improvements to area roads and the installation of three covered parking garages would help.

Because the resort will operate 24-hours a day, Murren said its peak usage would counter typical commuting cycles.

He said the National Harbor site was selected over other proposed casino sites because it was best situated from a vehicular and pedestrian perspective.

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