MGM National Harbor Touts Community Benefits

MGM Resorts International has released a community benefits agreement signed that guarantees millions in revenue and jobs for residents of Maryland’s Prince George’s County.

MGM Resorts International and Prince George’s County, Maryland, have released the details of a community benefits agreement (CBA) signed by the operator that guarantees revenues and jobs to the local community as a result of the 0 million MGM National Harbor casino mega-resort, slated to open in 2016.

The agreement, signed by County Executive Rushern Baker and MGM National Harbor President Lorenzo Creighton, guarantees thousands of jobs for county residents and significant work for local businesses. It sets goals for construction and operations-related contracting and employment, MGM’s philanthropic responsibilities and other commitments.

“We look at these numbers as being aggressive,” said Bradley Frome, assistant deputy county administrative officer, in an interview with the Baltimore Business Journal. “We think our firms can step up and do these.” Frome said the county wants its local businesses to “grow through this project.”

The CBA goes over and above what is required of MGM under Maryland’s gaming law for the host communities of casinos. “County Executive Baker and his team worked diligently in crafting a tough-but-realistic agreement,” Creighton said in a statement. “Above all things, I know we share the common goal of ensuring Prince George’s County residents receive significant economic benefits from MGM National Harbor.”

First and foremost, the agreement guarantees at least half of the project’s estimated 4,000 jobs will go to local residents. Other factors included in the agreement:

• Contracting goals, construction: MGM must make its best efforts to hire 30 percent minority business enterprises, 12 percent county-based MBEs, and 16 percent local business enterprises, which may include outside entities with offices in Prince George’s. Frome says the goal is at least 35 percent participation by MBEs.

• Before opening, MGM must contribute $250,000 to the nonprofit Community Foundation, $250,000 to still-to-be-determined programs or organizations that benefit the county and $500,000 to workforce training efforts. After opening, MGM must give $150,000 per year—in perpetuity—to the Community Foundation and $250,000 per year to organizations that benefit the county.

• MGM will pay the salary of a compliance manager to ensure MGM is following the agreement. The manager will be a county employee. If it fails to hit its marks, or to demonstrate it made a best effort, MGM will be liable for $30,000 per item in liquidated damages, up to $300,000 per year.

• MGM will lease the shuttered Thomas Addison Elementary School in Oxon Hill for $1 per year, until six months after the resort opens, for employee recruitment and training, offices and construction staging. During its lease term, MGM will invest $4 million in upgrades to the school, and when the lease is up, the renovated building will be turned back over to the county.

• MGM will offer 10 internships per year, sponsor 25 summer youth jobs annually and establish a culinary program, most likely at Potomac High School.

The CBA must still be approved by the County Council.