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Slots Parlor Developers Attends Maryland Meeting

On January 13th, 2009, would-be slots parlor developers gathered in Baltimore, Maryland to question Maryland officials regarding the slots plan. The conference held at the Maryland State Lottery headquarters attracted around 150 people and came a few weeks earlier before the February 2nd, 2009 deadline to submit casino proposal for up to 15,000 slot machines at 5 locations. But with the weakening economy and financing difficult to fix, the slots proponents acknowledged that it will be difficult on how many groups will compete for the licenses.

House Majority Leader Kumar P. Barve said that no one could have guessed on what happened a year ago. He added that because of the weak economy, they have to observe on whatever will happen by next month. Several individuals at the conference about what type of slot machines that would be available at the sites. Maryland Lottery Director Buddy Roogow stated that state officials would work together with casino operators and have a mix of different slot machines to make the program as interesting as possible.

The slots program is predicted to produce $660 million annually. Majority of the revenues will be allotted for the state education. The slot machines will be place in Baltimore City and Allegany, Anne Arundel, Cecil and Worcester counties. One provision requires gaming operators to invest a total of $25 million for every five hundred machines allowed at a location, which translates into $75 million to $237.5 million, depending on the location.

Some state leaders fear that requirement may turn a lot of bidders away because they can acquire money at a manageable interest rate. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. said that the economy plays a major part in who can acquire financing. The developers who have attended the meeting include the representatives from Magna Entertainment Corporation and the Maryland Jockey Club, which owns and manages Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course.

Other racing interest includes the Penn National Gaming Incorporated, which manages the Charles Town Races and Slots in West Virginia, research group Spectrum Gaming Group. The representatives from the Delaware Park also attended the meeting. Some executives from the Penn National Gaming expressed interest in the Cecil site. Eric Shippers, a Penn National Vice President said that they still intend pass an application but said that they have questions on some of the provisions of the slots application and is wary about the small share of the operators.


Monday, 16 March 2009
Darren G. Strachan