City slots plan offers great opportunity

May 27, 2011

I write to express my disappointment with the reaction of some of the potential bidders for the Baltimore slots site ("Terms of city slots deal get criticism," May 25). The proposal crafted by Baltimore and the state was written to express the intention of the citizens who voted by referendum in favor of a slots program. It was crafted in the best interest of the citizens of the state and city, and it is not laden with lucrative incentives for developers and national gaming interests.

Of course we want the facility to attract a quality operator who can make a profit and provide a tasteful facility. The bidding process will tell us if the proposal has balanced the need for the developer to make a profit and provide the expected revenue for Baltimore and Maryland. I hope that the initial reaction to a perceived lack of incentives will not prevent interested bidders from a careful calculation of the future gaming possibilities in the city.

The Maryland slots program is foremost about providing funding for our schools. Furthermore, the city stepped up to the plate and offered a city-owned site and pledged the revenues to lowering our burdensome property tax rate, as well as renovating and building schools. The city has a right to require payment as landlord of the site. The Baltimore operator should be required to pay rent for the value of their property.

Again, I hope potential bidders do not decry the proposal as unworkable without envisioning the tremendous opportunities this site could provide with its gateway location and the future premier entertainment zone in Baltimore.

Sen. Nathaniel J. McFadden, Baltimore

The writer, a Democrat, represents District 45 in Baltimore.

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