Slight progress is being made in an attempt to bring a slots parlor to South Baltimore. This morning a site change was approved that would place the proposed facility on Russell Street south of M&T Bank Stadium. The largest obstacle will come when the private financier, Baltimore City Entertainment Group, go in front of the state to win slot licenses for the parlor but this is no doubt an important step as a location for the proposal was finalized.
This new site seems to be an ideal place to test the waters for slots in Baltimore City. The area draws plenty of traffic down Russell Street or off I-295 and between the two stadiums there are approximately 100 days of live entertainment each year from which to draw visitors. One of the arguments against slots is that many people see them as a magnet for some of Baltimore’s more unseemly citizens. The potential site, however, is in a rather down trodden area to begin with (down the block from the Baltimore RESCO plant); and one with few residents. A slots parlor in the neighborhood would disrupt the day-to-day life of few locals.
There is still much doubt as to whether slots in the city will make a financial impact and how soon the benefits would be seen, but each of these small approvals is a step toward Baltimore City’s first slots parlor. Although many city residents would rather keep slots out of the area I think the groups involved have done as good a job as possible to find an area that can draw crowds and stay out of more dense residential areas; a location that could keep both sides content as slots become a stronger and stronger possibility in our city.