Slots commission sweetens terms for license bids

A state panel sweetened the terms Wednesday for bids for the slots licenses in Baltimore and Rocky Gap.

The states slots commission voted unanimously to give the winner of the Baltimore license a two-year window to decide whether to buy nearby land, instead of expecting the winner to buy the parcels up front, which officials said was implied in the existing terms. Land for a parking garage still would have to be purchased immediately.

The recommendation was among several proposed by the quasi-public Baltimore Development Corp. in response to complaints by prospective bidders about the terms of the deal the state is offering the eventual casino operator. The slots commission approved all of the BDC's recommendations.

The commission also agreed to reduce the financial commitment for wastewater treatment upgrades for the Rocky Gap casino. Instead of paying $4 million, the developer would pay $1.8 million, to cover the estimated impact of the operation on the existing system.

Bids are due Sept. 23 for the last two of the five slots sites authorized by voters. Revenues for the casinos that have opened in Cecil County and near Ocean City have fallen short of expectations. A casino at Arundel Mills is under construction.

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