The Parx Casino proposed by Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment Inc. in Prince George's County, Md., would generate $650 million in annual gambling revenue, according to reports presented Friday to the Maryland commission charged with picking a winner for the final casino license in the state.
The estimate for Penn National Gaming Inc.'s proposal in Fort Washington, Md., was $556 million.
Both Pennsylvania casino operators significantly trailed the $716 million annual revenue projected for MGM Resorts International's plan for a casino in National Harbor, across the Potomac River from Alexandria, Va.
A major factor in the estimates, which are the average of those by two numbers crunchers, was the fact that MGM's location was assumed to be three-to-four minutes closer to Virginia by car than the other sites.
When Greenwood CEO Tony Ricci had a chance to comment to the members fo rthe Video Lottery Facility Location Commission, he let loose: "It's incomprehensible to think that a three-to-four minute drive differential would have any impact on the ultimate performance of our property."
He wasn't done: "We operate the most successful casino in Pennsylvania, and I'm certain if our location were to move three to four minutes in any direction there would be no impact on our revenue."
In Penn National's response to the consultants' reports on its plan for a casino at the Rosecroft Raceway, Karen Bailey, vice president of communications, focused on the benefit for the horseracing industry and on its plan to support health care and education in the county.
MGM had it simple. "We heard clearly today that on just about everyone's projection quite simply MGM wins," Bill Hornbuckle, MGM's president and chief marketing officer, told the commissioners.
Parx and MGM agreed on one thing, that the Prince George's license represents an extraordinary opportunity, given its proximity to Virginia, which has yet to tap casino gamblers to fill its coffers.
"While this is a local casino, undoubtedly, it is pointed directly at Virginia. It is pointed directly to the south. It is pointed from Maryland to a marketplace that the others have not been able to attract yet," Hornbuckle said. "It is not a good location; it is probably the best location in North America."
A Parx consultant told the commissioners they "are awarding a casino license that will have an effective monopoly on one of the largest markets left in the Western Hemisphere."
The Maryland commissioners plan to choose the winner Dec. 20.