Nathan Landow, a major real estate developer and former chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party, said Wednesday that his company plans to bid this week to operate a slots casino at Rocky Gap Lodge and Golf Resort in Western Maryland.
The site is one of two that remain without private operators in Maryland’s fledgling slot-machine gambling program. Two previous rounds of bidding have produced no qualified operators for the lodge in Allegany County, where up to 1,500 machines are authorized.
Landow said in an interview that his family-owned company will place a bid on Friday, when applications are also due for a slots site in downtown Baltimore, where 3,750 machines are allowed.
Landow said he would propose adding and upgrading other amenities at the lodge, which was financed by the state and has long struggled to become profitable. The property already includes a day spa and an 18-hole “Jack Nicholas Signature Golf Course.”
“It can be something more than just a gaming venue,” said Landow, whose company is based in Bethesda. “It can be developed into a landmark. It’s a unique, beautiful setting.”
A state panel called for a third round of bidding in June after the legislature took several steps to sweeten the offer earlier this year, including temporarily increasing the share of proceeds an operator would be allowed to maintain.
Maryland voters authorized five slots sites in a 2008 ballot measure. Two smaller sites are up in running, in Cecil and Worcester counties. A third casino is being built at Arundel Mills mall in Anne Arundel County and is scheduled to open in June. With 4,750 machines allowed, it is envisioned to be the state’s largest.
Landow has expressed interest in other gaming opportunities in Maryland and was among the bidders for Rosecroft Raceway, a horse track in Prince George’s that was sold at a bankruptcy auction this year.