Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races & Slots, which stands to lose revenue when the new casino opens in Prince George's County, has easily been West Virginia's strongest-performing racetrack.
Hollywood Casino had been providing the lion's share of state casino revenues, thanks to a location unaffected by competition from Ohio and -- until Tuesday -- had only been minimally impacted by video slots in neighboring Maryland.
In August, Charles Town produced $13.3 million in table games revenue for the month -- more than three times the $4.2 million of revenue from the three other racetracks and The Greenbrier casino combined.
"Starting today, MGM's talented team of designers and resort experts begin work on our proposal for a great destination resort for the people of Prince George's County and the state of Maryland," Jim Murren, MGM's CEO, announced Wednesday. "We stand ready to compete with all comers for this license and the privilege to bring an MGM resort to National Harbor."
The casino planned by MGM would have up to 3,000 slot machines, as well as table games.
The Prince George's County casino can't open until 2016. Table games could arrive at Maryland's three existing casinos sometime next year and at two other casinos when they open. Caesars Entertainment was awarded a license earlier this year to open a casino in Baltimore. It has been scheduled to open in 2014. A casino in western Maryland at Rocky Gap State Park is planned to open next summer or early next fall.
Voters who supported the ballot question on Tuesday cited the importance of keeping gambling revenue in Maryland, instead of allowing it to flow to neighboring states like West Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Supporters also noted job creation as a key factor in their decisions. While opponents said they voted against the expansion because they doubted a significant amount of the state's proceeds from gambling would go to education as promised, supporters said it's hard to argue with the fact that the state needs the jobs and money.