The fees, which would have come on top of the 67 percent profit that all Maryland casino operators must pay the state, would have made Baltimore the most costly of the five casino sites.
The city must forward its new criteria to the slots commission before the state puts out a request for proposals. Fry said he wants to begin seeking bids by Memorial Day, but other officials have a more optimistic goal: next month.
Several groups are getting ready.
Charm City Casino LLC formed in July. Its lobbyist, William Kress, would not disclose any details about his client, which appears to be a Canadian investment firm.
In November, Baltimore lawyer Hassan Murphy launched an unrelated group called Charm City Development and Gaming. Murphy has hired Tim Perry and D. Robert Enten, two of Annapolis' best-paid lobbyists, to monitor legislative developments.
"We're looking at this like we're looking at all kinds of opportunities," said Murphy, who declined to give any details about others in his group. Once the state releases its Baltimore proposal, he said, "we're going to take a hard look at whether we're going to do anything with it."
Murphy's sister, Rebecca Murphy, is the director of special projects for the City of Baltimore. Asked about a potential conflict of interest, O'Doherty, the city spokesman, said that "none of her work at all relates to the [Baltimore Development Corporation's] effort in the slots site criteria."
Kress is a registered lobbyist for Clairvest Group, a Canadian private equity provider that has invested in casinos, including in Toronto and Des Plaines, Ill. On recently filed lobbying forms, Kress stated he would be working on "gaming, Bingo, lottery, raffles" for that client. He would not confirm whether Clairvest is connected to Charm City Casino.
Other casino-related groups also have hired lobbyists for the upcoming legislative session.
Orioles owner Peter Angelos and Chesapeake Racing, both of which hope to purchase the bankrupt Rosecroft Raceway in Prince George's County, employ Gerard Evans as their lobbyist.
Angelos' bid for the track proposes an extra fee if he is allowed to bring slots there by the end of 2012. Evans' lobby disclosure form about Chesapeake details that he will be working on "matters affecting the expansion of gaming and gaming activities in Maryland."
Evans would not discuss either client.
St. Louis-based Isle of Capri Casinos has hired Alexander & Cleaver to lobby for "ownership and operation of gaming and entertainment facilities." Robin Shaivitz, a lobbyist with the firm, said she was not authorized to talk about the client.
Isle of Capri Casinos has facilities in Kansas City, Mississippi, Iowa and other cities across the country, according to its corporate website. It's unclear where in Maryland they might like to develop a casino.
The Maryland Jockey Club and Penn National Gaming, which are trying to bring slots to the struggling Laurel Race Track in Laurel, will return to Annapolis with several lobbyists, including former O'Malley aides. Joshua White is among several working on behalf of the Jockey Club. Sean Malone is one of several people registered to lobby for Penn National.
Laurel submitted a bid during the first round of licensing, but did not pay all of the necessary fees, and so did not qualify. Cordish was awarded the sole license for Anne Arundel County.