Plans For Baltimore's Celebration Casino Shared With State
A group seeking to bring slot-machine gambling to Baltimore today outlined its vision for Celebration Casino, a major entertainment venue to be built on the site of a demolished chemical distribution plant just south of the football stadium where the Ravens play.
Michael Cryor, a partner in the Baltimore City Entertainment Group, promised a state panel that the group would formally present revised plans by next month for a 3,750-machine facility that would include two restaurants and a bar and employ close to 1,000 people.
In February, the group proposed a 500-machine facility at a location about two blocks away. That bid is still officially pending before the state commission charged with awarding slots licenses at five locations in Maryland. The revised bid will require an additional $19.5 million license fee, which Cryor, a former chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party, promised would be forthcoming as well.
The state commission is seeking to award licenses for Maryland's fledgling slots program around November.
Cryor's group was the only bidder for the Baltimore license. Its change of plans, which surfaced several weeks ago, has raised the hackles of of other gaming companies. But a representative from the state's Attorney General's Office told the commission today that it has the authority to accept revised bids.
Michael Moldenhauer, a principal in the Baltimore City Entertainment Group, told the commission that the site should be open by mid-2011 and generate about $500 million in its first year of operation. About $333 million of that would be retained by the state.
By 2015, Moldenhauer said, gross revenue should climb to more than $650 million, with the state retaining nearly $430 million.
Those figures are significantly higher than Maryland legislative analysts initially projected -- and prompted some skepticism from members of the state commission.
"I want to believe those numbers, but I'm not sure I do," said commission member Bruce Poole.
August 26, 2009; 6:12 PM ET
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