Ocean City Today

County lacks policy on table game revenue distribution

By Brian Gilliland | Feb 15, 2018
Photo by: File photo

(Feb. 16, 2018) Funding derived from gambling revenues from the Ocean Downs Casino have funded projects large and small, from the land purchase and construction of the new Berlin Police Department headquarters to the opening of a coffee shop in Snow Hill, among others.

As the casino expanded into table games at the end of last year, so too did the potential for increased funding for local projects. When the enabling legislation for gambling passed in 2008, the county developed a policy on how to distribute those funds.

Almost half, it was decided, would go to fund education, at 48.5 percent, with one-third going to the casino, seven percent to increase purses, 2.5 percent for capital improvements to the racetrack facility at Ocean Downs, another two percent to the state lottery, 1.5 percent for small, minority and women owned business loans and five percent to the local impact fund.

Local impact funds are divided between Ocean City, Berlin and Ocean Pines with the resort getting 20 percent and the others both receiving 10 percent each. Worcester County keeps the rest, while Snow Hill and Pocomoke City have been unsuccessful in securing a share of the proceeds for themselves.

According to Public Information Officer Kim Moses, the county will keep to that schedule in the broad sense, with the same five percent share being returned to the county from the state, but no specific policy has been set for the distribution of the new money from table games.

“Because table games did not open at the Ocean Downs Casino until approximately Dec. 31, and revenues from table games is new, the county is evaluating how these funds may be allocated,” Moses said.

Revenue estimates for table games at Ocean Downs Casino were unavailable.

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