Rocky Gap Casino Resort opens as Maryland's fourth casino

(AP/ABC7) - The newly christened Rocky Gap Casino Resort has opened its doors to the public in western Maryland after winning approval from state gambling regulators.

It is Maryland's fourth casino and will add 250 jobs to the resort formerly known as the Rocky Gap Lodge and Golf Resort.

Only 24 hours after the casino opened, its hall already is seeing plenty of activity.

“You can't help but feel comfortable and relaxed when you get here," says Scott Just, Rocky Gap Casino General Manager.

Hoping for the right combination, Mary Birmingham of nearby Shortgap was one of the first to try her luck at the casino.

In addition to the jobs it created, the casino brings in people, who provide a source of cash for the nearby town of Cumberland.

“The town is struggling. Everybody is struggling," says Trisha Root, a casino worker.

Root is now an executive assistant, who started as a bartender, and she lives in the area.

The plan is to expand beyond the casino, and to build a new conference center expected to hold close to 800 people.

"With the renovations and the casino, we have something for everyone," Just says.

The new casino features more than 550 slot machines and 10 table games. The resort also is unveiling a renovated lobby, hotel rooms and restaurants, and it features an 18-hole golf course.

The four eateries include an upscale restaurant with views of the mountains and nearby lake and more casual bars and restaurants.

Lakes Entertainment Inc. of Minnetonka, Minn., owns the casino. It will offer gambling and alcohol 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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