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Slots Developer Pushes Back Arundel Mills Project

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Slots setback. No casino will be opening at Arundel Mills this year. The Cordish Company says instead it will have a temporary facility up and running in June of 2012.

Political reporter Pat Warren has more on how these delays could hurt the state.

With its 67 percent of the take, the state of Maryland has even more at stake in slots casinos than the casino operators.

Just when the slots commission clears the way for bids on the Baltimore location, here comes news that the Arundel Mills slots casino will take about six months longer to open and leave the state about $70 million short. That’s a lot when the state is balancing its budget on every nickel it’s got.

“It’s good that the city side is moving forward,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “I’m disappointed that the Cordish Company broke its commitment to open early as they had promised.”

A coming soon event was held when voters approved the mall location, and an end of the year opening was expected.

In a statement, the Cordish Company says “the construction of the project was stopped as a result of third party appeals of our building permits, the last of which was not dropped until the end of March.”

But it will have more explaining to do.

“I don’t know why they would make such fanfare, ribbon cuttings and dragging your cameras out there time and time again ahead of the groundbreaking and ribbon cutting for a commitment they themselves intended to break,” O’Malley said.

The Maryland Slots Commission expects a full explanation in June and a better idea of how it hurts the budget.

“It results probably in a shortfall for the next fiscal year but may result in a greater return for the following fiscal year,” said Don Fry. “Those are some of the questions we want to ask them.” 

That, and a broader explanation for the delay.

“I’m sorry that they broke their promise,” O’Malley said. “And I’m sorry they’re not moving forward.”

Arundel Mills will have the biggest slots casino in the state when it opens.

Cordish says a temporary casino should open in June 2012 and the full casino by the fall of 2012.

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