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Two Maryland slot bids rejected

16 February 2009

ANNAPOLIS, Maryland -- As reported by The (Baltimore) Sun: "State officials threw out today two of six recent proposals for slot-machine casinos at Laurel Park racetrack in Anne Arundel County and Rocky Gap State Park in Western Maryland. The decision increases the chances that a large casino will be built at Arundel Mills mall and opens the possibility of another round of bidding in Allegany County.

"Based on advice from the Maryland attorney general's office, the rejected bids were deemed incomplete because they did not include millions of dollars in legally required licensing fees. The seven-member slots panel is expected to decide this year whether to award lucrative gambling licenses to remaining applicants who want to build slots parlors in Baltimore, in Cecil County, adjacent to Arundel Mills and near Ocean City.

"Donald C. Fry, chairman of the slots commission, did not allow attorneys for Laurel Park -- long considered to be a shoo-in for a slots license -- to speak before the unanimous vote. Meanwhile, Annapolis lawyers for the horse track's Canadian owners filed a motion in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court asking a judge to intervene, the preliminary legal motion in what could be a protracted court battle.

"The commission's action, taken at an Annapolis meeting today, was the first major decision by the appointed panel charged with handing out five casino licenses. Maryland voters decided last year to legalize slots as a revenue source for public schools, and bidders have proposed to install just over one-third of the 15,000 slot machines authorized..."

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