Anne Arundel, Baltimore leaders still rosy on slots
With the fate of Maryland's two largest proposed slot-machine casinos up in the air, leaders of the host jurisdictions expressed confidence during a radio show Tuesday that plans will move forward.
"I still remain cautiously optimistic that there will be four members of the council who act in the best interests of the county and state," Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold (R) said on WYPR's "Midday with Dan Rodricks."
Leopold was referring to the number of county council members needed to secure majority support for zoning approval of a 4,750-machine casino proposed at Arundel Mills mall by Cordish Cos.
The deeply divided seven-member council is set to consider the zoning bill on Dec. 7, along with another bill that would allow slots at locations other than the mall. Neighbors of the mall continue to express concerns about traffic and crime. Leopold insisted that separate bills will address those concerns.
Baltimore officials have already approved zoning needed for a 3,750-machine venue proposed just south of the football stadium where the NFL's Ravens play. The issue there is whether a group of investors, known as the Baltimore City Entertainment Group, will pony up a long-promised $19.5 million licensing fee to the state that is needed for the project to move ahead.
"I expect that to happen in the next couple of weeks," said Baltimore Deputy Mayor Andrew Frank, who has been in close contact with members of the group.
Frank suggested a factor in the delay was protracted negotiations with Baltimore officials over the use of the city-owned property on which the casino will sit.
A state commission that is awarding slots licences has expressed frustration with the pace of both the Anne Arundel and Baltimore bids.
October 27, 2009; 2:39 PM ET
Categories: John Wagner , Slots
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