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June 26, 2013

Mistakes at Salisbury slots presentation causing concern

SALISBURY — When selectmen meet next week to consider the proposed slots-only casino that Cordish Companies wants to build on Route 110, they’ll be discussing a lot more than they thought.

That’s because yesterday the Maryland real estate developer’s representative, Jeffrey Snyder, said he misspoke when telling selectmen Cordish is proposing to build a 12,000-square-foot gambling facility in town. The true size would be 120,000 square feet, Snyder said yesterday when The Daily News called after questioning if his numbers were accurate. He apologized for his mistake, promising to clear up the error with officials immediately.

A 120,000-square-foot facility — slightly smaller than Seabrook’s Walmart — is more amenable to being the state’s one-and-only allowed slot machine venue that Snyder described Monday night, but it’s 10 times larger than selectmen thought it was going to be. By state law Cordish would have to make a minimum of a $125 million investment to create an establishment that could hold a maximum of 1,250 slot machines, Snyder said. But the “world-class” slot casino Snyder proposed would also hold at least three restaurants and a small theater featuring live entertainment, allowing hundreds of employees to cater to thousands of patrons, 24 hours a- day seven days a week.

After listening to Snyder’s original pitch for the 12,000-square-foot venue, selectmen didn’t say “yes” and they didn’t say “no,” but voted unanimously to hold an informal workshop at 4:30 p.m. on Monday to scope out Cordish’s proposal before taking a vote at 7 p.m. on whether to proceed with the project.

Selectmen Don Beaulieu and Freeman Condon said yesterday they don’t think Snyder purposely deceived them, but the error raises concerns. That’s especially true because Cordish’s Monday night PowerPoint presentation had another major error. It listed the number of slots allowed as 12,500, instead of 1,250, selectmen said.

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