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Slots panel throws out two bids

The state slots commission voted unanimously Wednesday to throw out bids by some developers seeking to build casinos in Baltimore and Western Maryland, saying the applications failed to provide minimum requirements.

Caesars Entertainment, which has proposed a 3,750-machine gambling palace for Baltmore, is now the only applicant for the city slots license. Two groups are left to compete for the license at state-owned Rocky Gap Lodge and Golf Resort in Allegany County.

Greg Miller, a spokesman for Caesars, said in an email that his group is "proud" to have assembled an "exceptional" team and expects to build "another outstanding Baltimore attraction." He did not provide any additional details about the proposal.

A bid from Baltimore City Casino LLC was jettisoned because the group failed to provide the required $22.5 million licensing fee when it submitted a proposal last week.

Donald C. Fry, the chairman of the state slots commission, said Charles Hopkins, a member of the rejected group, acknowledged several days ago that his bid was incomplete and did not plan to challenge any recommendation for rejection.

"It is a classy response," Fry said.

Hopkins attended the Wednesday meeting but declined to comment.

The slots commission voted to dismiss the bid filed by Allegany Entertainment Group and Potts Gaming for a 200-machine casino at Rocky Gap.

The group failed to provide "numerous" elements in its application, said Robert Howells of the State Lottery Agency. He said the missing information included affidavits attesting to conflicts of interest by the principals, fees for conducting background checks, and a litigation protest bond.

"We feel this is far beyond a minor irregularity," Howells said.

Fry said he hopes the commission can move "as quickly as possible" to review the remaining bids and make decisions about awarding licenses by early 2012.

The commission plans to hold site visits in Baltimore and Rocky Gap at the end of October or early November. The visit to Rocky Gap may include an overnight stay at the lodge, Fry said.

annie.linskey@baltsun.com

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