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Jackpot! MGM National Harbor Filled to Capacity Within First Hour of Opening

Less than an hour after opening its doors for the first time, the MGM National Harbor casino and resort filled to capacity -- and hundreds of people were still waiting to get inside.

Traffic going into the casino was backed up for miles and police shut down the Beltway Outer Loop exits 2A, 2B and 3B to National Harbor to relieve traffic on Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Those exits have since reopened.

The casino was set to open at 11 p.m., but officials decided to open the doors 30 minutes early after thousands of cars filled the MGM's parking lots and garages.

Just after 11 p.m., the MGM parking garage was full and all outdoor parking lots were filled a few of hours earlier.

Prince George's County police are asking drivers to keep an eye on their advice about traffic. The department has their own text message alert system, andNews4 will send alerts as well.

Heavy traffic is expected Thursday evening for the opening night of MGM National Harbor. News4’s Adam Tuss has the look from above in Chopper4.

The $1.4 billion casino is expected to have a big impact on traffic and tourism in Prince George's County and the greater Washington, D.C. area. News4 is reporting live on the ground and in the air all night. 

Ahead of the grand opening, officials and the head of MGM said the luxurious resort and casino will pump money into Maryland and beyond.

"This wasn't about just getting our slice of the pie," MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren said. "This is about growing gaming revenue in the State of Maryland and bringing more people into Maryland to spend their time and tourist dollars here." 

Gov. Larry Hogan said he expects that the impact will extend beyond Maryland. 

It’s finally here! The $1.4 billion MGM National Harbor casino and resort opens to the public Thursday. News4’s Justin Finch reports.

"We're going to bring a lot of money into Virginia and D.C., and it's really a project the state can be proud of," he said. 

Murren said he believes that MGM National Harbor would be "the most successful resort in the State of Maryland." 

News4’s Chris Gordon takes at look at MGM National Harbor’s non-casino offerings, including a theater and 15 shops.

Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker said the casino and resort will spark economic development.

"This says to businesses around the region that Prince George's County really is the place to be and the economic engine. This is just the start of it," he said. 

If you're not a fan of gambling, MGM says the casino still has lots to offer. There are 15 stores and several restaurants with well-known chefs, plus a full-service hotel and 3,000-seat theater. 

News4's Tracee Wilkins spotted actress Sarah Jessica Parker at the grand opening of her shoe store in the resort, SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker. 


MGM designed the Oxon Hill, Maryland, resort to complement the city of monuments across the Potomac River. It has a 308-room hotel and spa.

The casino is also home to a gambling floor "bigger than the White House'' and an art collection that includes a large welded collage by Bob Dylan. It is the singer and Nobel laureate's first work of art for a public space on permanent display. 

PHOTOS: Tour MGM National Harbor's Casino, Restaurants u0026 Christmas Decor

Many musical acts are heading to the stage at MGM. 

R&B group Boyz II Men will be the first artists to take the stage, on Dec. 15.

The iconic group won't be the only famous musical act performing at The Theater during the venue's inaugural month -- Lionel Richie (Dec. 22), Bruno Mars (Dec. 27) and Duran Duran (Dec. 31; Jan 1) also are on the roster.

Neighbor Jeffrey Fisher said looked forward to seeing the entire complex.

"It's all first-rate and it's all so exciting because we live in the neighborhood," he said. 

MGM hired more than 4,000 employees, many from Prince George's County.

"It's a great place to work, great place to be," employee and Suitland resident Deborah Brown said.

The casino will be open 24 hours.

The MGM National Harbor casino and resort is ready to roll. Prince George’s County Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins is inside the casino as people prepare to celebrate.
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