Cumberland Times-News

January 12, 2013

Shot in the arm

New jobs at Rocky Gap resort will help economy

Cumberland Times-News

— The addition of 150 jobs at Rocky Gap Lodge & Golf Resort obviously is good news. With a little bit of “casino luck” that number could climb even higher if more slot machines are added in the future.

Resort officials told the Allegany County commissioners and delegation in Annapolis last week that the new jobs will nearly double the current full-time staff at the resort. The total number of employees will be 300.

The new permanent jobs at the resort will be in addition to about 50 construction jobs involved with the project. Those jobs are expected to be filled by local buildings and trades employees.

Then there is the spinoff benefit of the casino. The resort is expected to draw visitors from throughout the tri-state area, and those visitors will spend money at local businesses.

Additional gaming tables and slots, as well as conference space, could be added “as demand warrants,” said Tim Cope, president of Lake Entertainment. Lakes Entertainment recently obtained a $17.5 million credit line to help finance the project. The total cost of the Rocky Gap acquisition and development project is expected to be between $25 million and $30 million.

The purchase price was about $6.8 million and Evitts signed a lease for 260 acres for 40 years with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, according to company filings with the SEC.

The 550 slots and 10 table games operation at Rocky Gap has been a long time in the making. But the facility is scheduled to have gambling in June and the additional conference space will be available in the fall. The next step is for job fairs to be held locally to recruit new employees, including dealers and game operators. The entire project is a sorely-needed shot in the arm for the local economy.