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Panel Rejects Landow Proposal For Rocky Gap

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland’s slot machine commission voted 6-0 on Friday to reject a proposal to bring slot machines to western Maryland’s Rocky Gap State Park.

Don Fry, the commission’s chairman, said the proposal, by Landow Partners LLC, failed to provide detailed information that is required about how they would finance the casino.

“We never received a full financial plan or business plan that met the requirements as set forth in the (request for proposal),” Fry said after the vote.

Fry said Landow’s proposal included a request to borrow about $25 million through state bonds for the venture.

“We’re not in the position to offer state bonds as part of the deal,” Fry said. “We have no authority to ask the state, or rely on the state, to issue additional state bonds to fund what this project would be.”

Landow is a Bethesda-based development firm owned by former Maryland Democratic Party head Nathan Landow.

The commission’s decision leaves one proposal before the panel for bringing slot machines to Rocky Gap. That proposal was made by Evitts Resort LLC, a joint venture between publicly owned casino operator Lakes Entertainment Inc., of Minnetonka, Minn., and developer Paragon Project Resources Inc., of Irving, Texas.

Fry said the commission likely won’t be able to consider approving a slot machine license for Evitts until the middle of February or early March.

The Rocky Gap Lodge and Golf Resort in the Appalachian Mountains is about 130 miles west of Baltimore. It is one of five slots venues Maryland voters approved in 2008.

If Evitts gets the license to operate slot machines there, it will have to buy the resort, which is about $60 million in debt, including about $40 million owed to bondholders.

Evitts is proposing a casino with 850 slot machines. Evitts also is planning to expand to 1,000 slot machines in the second year.

Evitts officials have said their $62 million proposal would create 480 casino and resort jobs. The casino would be attached to one end of the lodge, with a separate hotel entrance for people under 21.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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