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Caesars Reps Support Md. Gaming Expansion Bill

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Officials representing the sole applicant hoping to put a slots parlor in downtown Baltimore say they support a bill that would create a sixth casino in Maryland.

Trevor Busche, vice president for corporate development for Caesars Entertainment Corp., said Friday that his company doesn’t really like the idea of sixth casino, which would be located in Prince George’s County, because it would draw from their potential customer base. But he believes other elements of the bill would create a more stable marketplace for gambling.

The legislation will be considered by the House Ways and Means Committee Friday. It also would allow casinos to add table games like blackjack and roulette, increase the share of money casino owners get to keep from 33 to 40 percent and allow a casino license holder to possess more than one license.

Theo Rodgers, president of A&R Companies, a Baltimore-based developer working with the gambling giant, said they would oppose any standalone legislation to create a sixth license in Maryland.

“We are responding to what has been served up, what has been introduced,” Rodgers said. “And again, and I don’t think this should be lost, we have not be designated as the licensee.”

Donald Fry, a former state delegate and chairman of the Video Lottery Facility Location Commission, said he expects the commission to decide whether to award the license to Caesars by June.

In 2008, Maryland voters approved licenses for slot machines at five locations. Two slots parlors, one in Perryville and another outside Ocean City, have already opened and a third location is expected to be online in Anne Arundel County in June.

Securing operators at the Baltimore site and at western Maryland’s Rocky Gap State Park has taken longer. There is only one proposal, from Evitts Resort LLC, before the commission for the Rocky Gap site.

Busche and Rodgers presented their plan to build a 3,700 slot-machine venue on Russell Street to members of the Baltimore City delegation Friday morning.

Lawmakers questioned whether Caesars would want to pursue the Prince George’s location, if it were approved, instead of following through in Baltimore.

“I’m not sure where that concern is emanating,” Busche said. “We haven’t done anything to suggest deviating from our desire to operate and invest in a casino in Baltimore City and that’s where all of our efforts are focused.”

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

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