More bad news on slots bids
Maryland didn't get much competition for its slot machine gambling licenses and didn't even get proposals for all 15,000 slot machines the state authorized. Now The Post is reporting on its politics blog that the lone bidder for the Rocky Gap site is making its bid contingent on a legal change that would reduce the tax rate for that site. According to Roz Helderman's post, the company is proposing a graduated tax rate wherein it would keep 75 percent of the first $50 million in profits, half of the next $50 million and 25 percent of any additional profits. The company also failed to submit a licensing fee as required by Maryland's law.
All that adds up to an increasing likelihood that the legislature will re-examine Maryland's 67 percent tax rate on slots profits -- one of the highest rates in the nation. Members of the slot machine licensing commission have already said they are interested in examining the issue and making recommendations to the legislature, and leaders in the General Assembly seem amenable to the idea.
As with anything when it comes to slots, getting the votes together in the legislature, particularly in the House of Delegates, could be difficult. But I wouldn't be surprised if changing the tax rate didn't turn out to be nearly as difficult as people might assume. We already decided to have slots. The voters clearly supported them. And we're in a heap of financial trouble. All that tends to focus the legislators' minds.