After years of starts and stops, any delay in the effort to bring a slots parlor to Baltimore — and with it needed tax revenues for the city and state — is unwelcome. But on the whole, the decision by the state slots licensing commission to push back the deadline for bids on the project appears to be more of a good sign than a bad one. The reason for the delay is not that the state is having trouble finding potential bidders but that it is fielding dozens of questions from would-be slots operators about legal, technical and procedural issues. There are no guarantees, but that fact at least offers some reason to hope that this round of bidding will go better than the last one, when the city site attracted a single bidder who was later disqualified by the state.
What seems to be causing the greatest outcry over the commission's decision is the political calendar. The delay pushes the deadline past the date of the Baltimore mayoral primary, and opponents of Mayor
The mayor did take some steps to increase the odds that the bidding will be successful — she clarified the terms Baltimore will agree to for rent and other considerations from a slots operator, and she eliminated questions about what parcels of land are available for a slots site. It certainly would be better to know the results of that effort before the city decides whether she should keep her job. But given the volume of issues Baltimore faces — crime, poverty, drug addiction, population loss, lagging student test scores and a week's worth of revelations about corruption large and small in city government —voters will have plenty on which to judge her leadership without a conclusion to the slots saga.