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January 10, 2013

Rocky Gap to double employment

• New careers to include dealers, table operators • Job fair is expected for the end of the month

ROCKY GAP — Officials with the owners of Rocky Gap Lodge & Golf Resort say that when the casino opens, they’ll be employing nearly double the current full-time staff, with about 300 employees.

About 100 of those employees will be card dealers and other gaming table operators, officials with Lakes Entertainment said Thursday. The rest will be employed in lodge operations, food and beverage work and the golf course.

The gaming operation will start with 550 slot machines and 10 table games, said Scott Just, the general manager at Rocky Gap.

A job fair is planned at the end of January for prospective employees of the gaming operation, with additional fairs in February and March, Just said. The casino should open in June, with new conference space available in the fall, Just said.

Dealers and game operators will attend a 12-week school offered locally, and if they pass a test, will be eligible for employment at the casino, Just said. The company is working with Allegany College of Maryland and Frostburg State University to develop classes tailored to potential Rocky Gap employees.

Evitts Resort LLC, which owns the lodge and resort, is a subsidiary of Lakes. The lodge and resort are located in Rocky Gap State Park.

In addition, conference space lost at the lodge to make way for gaming operations will be increased beyond what is currently available at the lodge and conference center.

One of the rooms alone will provide 5,000 square feet of conference space suitable for entertainment and large events, Just said. Smaller rooms will also be available.

The largest conference room could hold as many as 800 people, officials said.

The new conference space will replace space lost when the current conference rooms are revamped to make room for gaming.

Additional gaming tables and slots, as well as conference space, could be added “as demand warrants,” said Tim Cope, president of Lakes.

Cope met with members of the Allegany County legislative delegation in Annapolis on Thursday, covering much of the same ground Just did later in the day with commissioners.

Lakes Entertainment re-cently 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.

Contact Matthew Bieniek at mbieniek@times-news.com.

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