Workers have found "serious corrosion" in the grandstand, a steel structure that dates to 1948, complicating a planned renovation, according to Rickman. He also wrote that workers have found "substantial asbestos," which caused them to halt demolition in part of the project and that they are waiting for the State Highway Administration to approve a traffic study.
The only Maryland slots parlor on track is in Cecil County, where Penn National Gaming Inc. plans to open a casino with 1,500 machines in Perryville in late October. Penn National, which also owns Charles Town Races and Slots, has begun work on the foundation.
Officials hope to have a new round of bidding for a license at Rocky Gap in Allegany County, where the state owns a struggling resort hotel. A bidder in the first round in February was disqualified for failing to pay licensing fees.
But it is unclear whether state lawmakers would change the terms to draw more interest, and whether other sites could be rebid. A tepid response in the first round was blamed by some on the recession, which made it difficult to raise capital, and by others on restrictive terms that required major capital investment and imposed one of the highest tax rates in the nation.
House Speaker Michael E. Busch, an Anne Arundel Democrat, said it is "highly doubtful" that the Assembly will make changes to the slots program in the three-month session that begins in January. He said that delays have been minimal.
Donald C. Fry, chairman of the slots commission, said the panel plans to discuss possible recommendations to the legislature but has not made any decisions. He said the group is unlikely to address the tax split. Four bidders submitted proposals at that rate, he said.
Commission member Robert R. Neall, a former state senator and Anne Arundel county executive, said the group might recommend lowering the required capital investment at the Rocky Gap facility. Developers are now expected to spend $25 million for every 500 slot machines.
Neall noted that the state might get better proposals in Baltimore if the site is rebid in this improved economic climate. But he said it is difficult to determine when to toss out a bid and move on. "It's really uncharted territory," he said.
Baltimore Sun reporter Julie Bykowicz contributed to this article.