Maryland's Slots Licenses Receives Few Bidders

With half of the slots revenue to be given to education, schools around Maryland have the most to lose if the slots plan does not proceed according to the wishes of the legislators. Such was the present situation on February 13th, 2009 as the chief of the Maryland commission tasked to award the slots licenses to winning bidders, received six bids for a mere 6,550 slot machines at five facilities. That is below the 15,000 slot machines that the voters allowed during the November 2008 general elections.

A fewer number of slot machines would mean less funding for the Education Trust Fund, which could leave the pro-slots supporters scrambling to solve the issue. Increasing the aid given to Maryland schools was one of the vital selling points for the expanded gambling proposal. Gaming analysts stated that Maryland would receive 90 million dollars from licensing costs on 2009-which would then be given to the Education Trust Fund.

A lobbyist for the Maryland State Teachers Association, Bob Rankin stated that one of the main concerns is that the slots proposal did put $90 million dollars in Maryland's 2009 state budget. Slot machine bidders are required to pay up $3 million every 500 slot machines. The overall number of slot machines that are requested by the bidders would only contribute $39.3 million in licensing fees. Two of the slot machine bids that were submitted for Laurel Park in Anne Arundel County and the Rocky Gap State Park did not clearly state the cost with their slots gambling proposals because of lingering concerns on a zoning problem in Anne Arundel that could have a significant effect on slots parlors and the high tax rate.