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Baltimore casino developers miss a deadline

Slots

Doubts about the viability of Maryland's second-largest planned slots casino increased Thursday, as developers of the Baltimore facility missed a self-imposed deadline to provide the state with updated plans and an additional $19.5 million licensing fee.

Donald C. Fry, chairman of the state panel choosing slots locations, said the Baltimore City Entertainment Group asked for additional time in a letter received Thursday, saying the group was in "advanced negotiations" with an additional investor.

"We're obviously going to have to consider whether to grant this request," Fry said. "We have expressed our concern that this has been dragging on for some time."

In February, the group was the sole bidder for a Baltimore slots license, submitting an application for a 500-machine facility near the football stadium where the NFL's Ravens play.

The group touted plans during the summer to build a 3,750-machine casino at a location a couple of blocks away from the original site. But those plans have never been submitted to the state, nor has an additional $19.5 million licensing fee. The fee is based on the number of machines that are proposed.

Fry would not disclose the name of the additonal investor, which he said is included in the letter. Michael Cryor, a member of the group, did not return phone calls Thursday.

"This is not the first investor we have heard of," Fry said. "We have heard they have been looking for investors for several months."

The seven-member state commission is planning to meet next week. It has the authority the re-open bidding for the Baltimore site if it believes the current 500-machine proposal is not in the best interest of the state.

To date, the commission has awarded three of the five slots licenses authorized by the Maryland voters last year. On Monday, the panel awarded a license to the largest planned casino, at Arundel Mills mall contingent on the developers securing zoning approval from the Anne Arundel Council.

The council postponed a vote on that issue Monday night and is scheduled to resume its deliberations on Dec. 21.

By John Wagner  |  December 10, 2009; 6:16 PM ET
Categories:  John Wagner , Slots  
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