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Md.'s Fourth Casino Hopes To Revive Lakeside Lodge

FLINSTONE, Md. (WJZ)— Maryland's gaming program moves ahead with the opening of a new casino at Rocky Gap.

Pat Warren reports the western Maryland resort hopes to capitalize on its location.

It is the fourth of six casinos intended to make money for the state.

It's about keeping Maryland money in Maryland, instead of Delaware and West Virginia.

"I went to other states to play other games, mainly West Virginia," said one gambler. "I will probably stay here now that I don't have to travel so far."

"I just got back from Dover the other day," said another.

Maryland casinos are open in Perryville (Cecil County), Ocean Downs (Worcester) and Maryland Live (Anne Arundel). Baltimore City is under construction and now Rocky Gap is opening, a casino built in the existing Rocky Gap State Part Resort in western Maryland.

"We've tried to integrate the casino into the resort, give it a little different feel than your normal casino," said Rocky Gap General Manager Scott Just.

With the addition of Rocky Gap, the state expects to increase its take of gambling dollars. The April numbers show Hollywood Casino pulling $8.4 million, Ocean Downs $3.9 million and Maryland Live $46.5 million. The total revenue from April was $58.9 million. Rocky Gap's resort status makes revenue projections uncertain.

"Ocean Downs does fantastic during the summer when there are thousands of people going to the beach. They don't do so well during the winter. We might expect some kind of similar pattern to develop here at Rocky Gap," said Stephen Martino, Gaming Control Agency.

Plans are in the works for a sixth casino at National Harbor, which is expected to pull revenue from both Baltimore and Arundel Mills, but the state has put it on a timeline in order to balance the competition.

Marylanders in November approved table games, a sixth casino and 24-hour gambling operations to the state's gambling law.

The Rocky Gap facility is expected to open later this week.

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