There's been a lot of public hand-wringing and breast-beating over the small number of bids received to operate slot machines in Maryland - only a total of six bids were received for the five possible sites. Two of the bids came without the required deposit, suggesting that they might be less than serious and probably will be disqualified. Many have said that the slots legislation needs to be changed already, before the first machine is in place or any bid has been accepted, to give the potential operators a bigger cut.
I say that's a bunch of rubbish. In case anyone hasn't noticed, the economy is not doing too well these days and credit is tight. It can't be easy for some to come up with the required deposit. Further, there are still uncertainties about some of the sites that need to be cleared up. But these problems will be solved eventually - the economy will improve, credit will loosen and the issues around a couple of the sites will be resolved. There's absolutely no need to panic and start throwing more money at the potential slots operators.
We need to look no further than right here on the Shore where William Rickman, arguably the most experienced slots operator among all the bidders, submitted a bid to place 800 machines at his Ocean Downs race track. Mr. Rickman, who is the principal in the Delaware Park slots operation just up the road is experienced, understands the cost and income from operating slot machines and has chosen to put up the required money, even given the relatively small share of proceeds that Maryland allocates to operators. If he can do it down here, other operators can do it at the other sites. It will just be a matter of time.
Similarly, Cordish, who has some experience in the business, submitted what seems to be a viable bid for the Anne Arundel County site. It looks as though the bids for the Cecil County and the Baltimore City sites are also good. All of the bids, except for Cordish's are for fewer slots than the legislation allows, but give them time and eventually the'll reach the cap.
So don't panic and start throwing money at the slots operators. They don't need it.
[I've been offline for a while due to a combination of events. I hope to get back to posting regularly soon!]