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MGM to open Las Vegas-style gambling resort near Washington, D.C.

MGM to open Las Vegas-style gambling resort near Washington, D.C.
An Asian-themed gaming room at the new MGM National Harbor outside of Washington, D.C. (Robb Scharetg)

Is Washington, D.C., ready for a Las Vegas-style casino resort just outside its famed beltway? MGM Resorts hopes so. The $1.4-billion MGM National Harbor stands to bring some Vegas glam to the East Coast when it opens Thursday.

Doors open 11 p.m. Thursday, but  the hotel won't be welcoming guests until Saturday.

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The outside of the new casino-resort on the Potomac River in Maryland.
The outside of the new casino-resort on the Potomac River in Maryland. (Steven Wilkes)

MGM National Harbor is on the Potomac River in Oxon Hill, Md., south of the capital and not far from the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, which links Virginia and Maryland.

It already houses a retail shopping area with outlet stores, the Capital Wheel and Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, operated by Marriott.

The metallic portal to the casino was designed by singer and sculptor Bob Dylan.
The metallic portal to the casino was designed by singer and sculptor Bob Dylan. (Robb Scharetg)

The resort brings a hotel with more than 308 rooms and suites, a 3,000-seat theater (in partnership with Live Nation Entertainment), an art collection (singer and Nobel Prize-winner Bob Dylan designed the metal sculpture that acts as a portal to the resort), a two-story conservatory (bigger than the one at Bellagio), a spa, pool and, of course, lots of food options.

Room prices start at $299 and suites at $399. Add $25 a day for the resort fee (tax included) that covers things like in-room Internet service, use of the fitness center and, of all things, notary service.

Grab-and-go options at National Market at the MGM National Harbor.
Grab-and-go options at National Market at the MGM National Harbor. (Robb Scharetg)

MGM skips standard buffet fare in favor of a farmers market where you can get things like a banh mi sandwich, upscale pizza or Shake Shack burger.

And then there are the oysters, a regional tradition. MGM will serve a "private-label oyster" exclusively farmed for the resort and called Lucky Shuck Oyster. (It plans to create its own craft beer and brewery too.)

The library bar at the Voltaggio Brother's Steak House.
The library bar at the Voltaggio Brother's Steak House. (Robb Scharetg)

Dining options range from a restaurant featuring chefs Bryan and Michael Voltaggio (Voltaggio Brother’s Steak House) and others by Jose Andres and Marcus Samuelsson.

The Bellagio Patisserie, a nod to its Las Vegas counterpart, will feature a 26-foot-tall chocolate fountain and serve European-style pastries.

Among the stores, “Sex and the City” actress Sarah Jessica Parker will open a stand-alone boutique at the resort.

Dining rooms at the Voltaggio Brother's Steak House at the resort.
Dining rooms at the Voltaggio Brother's Steak House at the resort. (Robb Scharetg)

But back to the casino. It will feature 125 table games (including blackjack, roulette and craps) a poker room with 39 tables and more than 3,300 slot machines. (No need to walk away from your favorite machine; you can charge your cellphone or tablet on USB ports in the machine while you play.)

The casino-resort has more than 3,000 slot machines.
The casino-resort has more than 3,000 slot machines. (Robb Scharetg)

British rockers Duran Duran will play two concerts — New Year’s Eve and Jan. 1 —— at the concert venue. Tickets cost $125 to $300. Bruno Mars appears Dec. 27.

The lobby of the MGM National Harbor. It's small by Vegas standards with just 300 rooms.
The lobby of the MGM National Harbor. It's small by Vegas standards with just 300 rooms. (Robb Scharetg)

Info: MGM National Harbor, (844) 646-6847

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