Local developer Patrick Turner and entrepreneur Jim Seay had considered a bid with MGM Resorts International.

Alan Feldman, a senior vice president for public affairs at MGM, said Thursday that his group would "love to do business in Maryland" but the tax rate left "little room for investment in anything other than a simple building with slot machines."

With MGM and Murphy out, the most talked-about potential bidder is Caesars Entertainment, which runs casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, N.J.

A Caesars spokesman declined to comment on the company's plans. But he scoffed at the notion that the company would build a subpar casino if it did decide to bid.

"Caesars Entertainment isn't interested in building 'cheapo venues' that would dilute the value of our brands," spokesman Gary Thompson said in an email.

Canadian homebuilder Michael Moldenhauer headed the group that in February 2009 offered the sole proposal for a Baltimore slots parlor. That bid was rejected after the slots commission became frustrated with his group's failure to meet deadlines, pay required fees or provide clarity about who would control the project. Moldenhauer has filed several lawsuits seeking to overturn the decision.

Moldenhauer said Thursday that he would not bid on the Baltimore site but would continue his legal battle.

Other developers who have shown interest but now say they will not bid include Empire Resorts, which runs a casino in New York, and Lerner Enterprises, the Rockville firm responsible for Dulles Town Center and parts of Tysons Corner in Northern Virginia.

Bids must be submitted to the Department of Legislative Services by 2 p.m. Friday. Officials will announce the bidders by the end of the day.

"What is really important is making sure you have one solid, qualified bidder that has the financial wherewithal and experience to do the job," said Fry, the slots commission chairman. "Hopefully, we will come out of this process with that situation."

Baltimore Sun reporter Hanah Cho contributed to this article.



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