State officials in Maryland have welcomed its fourth casino which features 558 slot machines and 10 table games, including blackjack, roulette and craps, at a lakefront lodge in the mountains of Western Maryland.
Rocky Gap Casino Resort opened its doors Wednesday in an area which was once a taxpayer-subsidized golf resort.
“It’s going to need some love, but I think there’s a great deal of potential,” said Frank Turner, vice chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over gambling issues.
The $35 million casino will be open around the clock and will be run but Evitts Resort, a subsidiary of Minnesota-based Lakes Entertainment which acquired Rocky Gap last summer for far less than the state paid to build it, with a promise of constructing a casino there and upgrading the resort.
Early indications, according to the casino owners, are that the resort is already doing well.
“It’s open and jamming,” said Scott Just, the general manager of the resort. “There’s a couple hundred people in there. They were pressing up against the ropes.”
Just says that he hopes the casino will be inclusive of the whole community, with its core market consisting of people within an hour’s drive.
“But our outer core is certainly 200 miles plus,” added Just. That’s a radius that encompasses Baltimore, Washington and Pittsburgh.
Casinos in Maryland are thought to have already generated the state $58.9 million in revenue in April alone, with future casinos planned for Baltimore and Prince George’s County. These would not open until 2016.