Look for an announcement sometime this week from the developer of National Harbor of an alliance with a leading casino company to serve as the prospective operator of the casino the Peterson Cos. hopes to host at thePrince George's Countysite.
Developer Milton Peterson said this week that he can guarantee that Caesars Entertainment, which is seeking approval as operator of a casino in Baltimore, will not be its partner. Caesars has so far been supportive of National Harbor's efforts to win General Assembly approval of a sixth Maryland casino -- expecting to get permission to offer table games in return. That had led to speculation that Ceasars would be given a role at National Harbor as part of a quid pro quo.
Peterson said the partner his company selects will be a major Las Vegas player but declined to identify it before the announcement. He said his company will not take a direct role in a running any casino -- a field in which Peterson Co. has no experience.
The National Harbor developer, who attended Tuesday's meeting of the work group Gov. Martin O'Malleyappointed to study a possible gambling expansion, was in the State House Wednesday along with one of his lobbyists, W. Minor Carter -- indicating that Peterson is working the issue hard.
National Harbor faces fierce opposition fromtheCordish Cos., operators of the Maryland Live Casino at Arundel Mills. Cordish has rejected projections that his company could gain enough from table games to offset the added competition Maryland Live would face from a casino in Prince George's.
The work group is attempting to forge a consensus around how to expand gambling, and presumably state revenues. If the panel can do so, O'Malley has indicated he could call a special session for July 9 to deal with gambling.