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May 6, 2011

Arundel casino delay to cost state, county $120M

The Cordish Co's decision to abandon plans for a temporary casino will blow as much as a $120 million hole in the budgets next year for the state, Anne Arundel County and horse racing industry, The Sun's Nicole Fuller reports.

The Baltimore-based developer loses out on $59 million in its own profits, according to figures compiled by the state Department of Legislative Services. Company head David Cordish, who blames the delay on litigation by a jilted would-be slots developer, says he will focus on opening the first phase of the permanent structure at Arundel Mills mall by June 2012.  

The legislative agency also detailed how the delay affects others. State law prescribes how all slots revenue is to be split up. Here's the breakdown:

Loss to the state's education trust fund: $87 million (Gov. Martin O'Malley's aides say the figure drops to $70 million because the state won't need to purchase machines next fiscal year.) 
Loss to the horse racing industry: $17 million
Loss to the county: $10 million (though the county budget director says $8.1 million)
Loss to minority and women-owned business development fund: $3 million
Loss to the lottery agency: $4 million

State legislators and O'Malley officials say the state can absorb the loss through what it hopes are higher-than-expected revenue streams and, if necessary, by tapping the $43 million fund balance available next year.

Still, the Democratic governor and his aides had harsh words for Cordish, saying he broke his commitment to the state.

The horse racing industry -- which had hoped to build a casino at Laurel Park race track and was part of a lawsuit to stop Cordish's project at the mall -- says it can't afford to lose the anticipated slots money.

John Franzone, chairman of the Maryland Racing Commission, called Cordish's decision disappointing but understandable, Fuller reports.

"I can understand their rationale," said Franzone. "But right now, the loss of purse money is devastating, because we're surrounded on all sides in other states by table gaming. It's tough."

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 11:46 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Slots
        

Comments

So, we've failed to take 120 million dollars from a bunch of dead-eyed proles. Somehow, I don't feel all that bad.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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