Cumberland Times-News

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March 15, 2014

Area clubs feel pinch from Rocky Gap casino

Coalition says gambling at organizations down $35k

CUMBERLAND — Local clubs are now feeling the pinch as a result of the opening of the Rocky Gap Casino Resort, according to the Club Coalition.

The coalition, a group of representatives of various area clubs, is chaired by Richard Everett of the Goodfellowship Club. The coalition met Thursday at the Goodfellowship Club to discuss the decline in revenue the organizations have been experiencing since the casino opened in May.

“We are down around $35,000 in gambling and $75,000 overall since Rocky Gap opened,” said Everett.

Paper gaming has long been one of the staple sources of income for affiliations such as the Goodfellowship Club, Cresaptown Eagles, Outdoor Club and the Democrat Club.

The local clubs have been the contributors to a variety of charities and causes including diabetes research, Dapper Dan, Christmas Box International, Battie Mixon Fishing Rodeo, veterans support services, cancer research and more.

“What people don’t understand is when your profits are down, your charitable contributions, your sponsorship fees, all these kind of things take a hit,” said Harry Grove of the Cresaptown Eagles.

Several of around 15 members present at the meeting reported declines in revenue at their clubs since Rocky Gap opened. One club representative told the group his organization was down 25 percent.

“If things don’t turn around, our accountant said we will really be hurting. We might have to shut the doors,” said Everrett.

The club representatives are most concerned with the 10 percent gaming tax Allegany County requires them to pay.

The Rocky Gap Casino Resort took in $3.1 million in February. Rocky Gap pays the county 2.75 percent of the take from the electronic gambling machines known as video lottery terminals. In February, $2.7 million in proceeds were received from video lottery gaming, which yielded the county $73,300.

Members of the Club Coalition agreed to approach the county in the hope they can get some relief from the gaming tax.

“I’m not saying it’s all Rocky Gap, but we have really dropped since they opened,” said Everrett.

Everrett said tip jars cost around $325. Clubs pay a 10 percent tax, with bars paying 40 percent. The jars also have expenses to operate along with paying the winner $100 as well as other smaller payouts.

“Clubs have really depended on the income from gaming, and that has taken a big hit,” said Everrett.

Greg Larry can be contacted at glarry@times-news.com.

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