CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — There’s more competition for West Virginia’s best performing casino with the recent opening of the MGM National Harbor Casino and Resort near Washington, D.C.

The casino, located in Oxon Hill, Maryland, just across the Potomac River from the nation’s capital, is not far from the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle.

Thousands flocked to the new casino when it opened last Thursday.

The $1.4 billion facility boasts 3,300 slot machines and 126 table games, and is expected to generate between $40 million and $45 million a year in tax revenue for Prince George’s County and even more for the state of Maryland.

About half of MGM National Harbor’s gambling revenue is expected to come from Virginia, a critical market for Charles Town. The increased competition could have ramifications for the entire Jefferson County community, according to Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Heather Morgan McIntyre.

“I don’t think people realize just how many people work at the casino and horse racing,” she said. “It affects grocery stores and retail.”

Maryland lawmakers debated whether to legalize casino gambling for years before voters endorsed the introduction of slot machines in a 2008 referendum.

Gambling operations once enjoyed little competition from surrounding states but in the past decade Maryland, Pennsylvania and Ohio have all expanded gambling options and that has resulted in decreased revenue for the casinos in the Mountain State and the state budget.

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