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Rocky Gap Casino Bill Shot Down

March 25th, 2015 by WCBC Radio

A bill which would have paid the owners of the Rocky Gap Casino Resort $700,000 to reimburse them for expenditures related to the water system that serves the casino was withdrawn when it received an unfavorable report by the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. The payment would have been a one-time payment in fiscal 2016. The payment would have come back to the casino from video lottery proceeds distributed by the Maryland comptroller. That would be in addition to the casino’s normal share of the proceeds after the cut paid to the state. The casino owner’s share of the revenue at Rocky Gap for 2014 was more than $18 million. Legislators have said the bill was a work in progress, since other avenues for the funding are being examined. The $700,000 was not an exact figure, legislators said. Discussions on funding are continuing with the casino’s owner, Maryland Environmental Service and others. MES is an independent state agency that runs the Rocky Gap water plant. Funding for water system improvements at Rocky Gap remains in the state’s capital budget. The budget allocates $1.8 million toward the new water treatment plant and $1.4 million for wastewater treatment plant improvements. A June 2014 meeting included some discussion of the responsibilities for funding the project, but apparently the understanding broke down at some point, Allegany County Commissioner Jake Shade recently said. The park will benefit from the upgrade, although the main impetus for the upgrade is the casino’s need for clean and plentiful water. The water work was initially to be completed before the casino began operation, Allegany County Commissioner Bill Valentine has said. In 2014, a $1.5 million contract was awarded to Carl Belt Inc. to begin the work. A separate bill on the allocation of funding from casino revenues remains languishing in House and Senate committees, with no action taken

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