OCEAN CITY — While the revenue numbers for the Casino at Ocean Downs continue to climb, the slot machines in the various service clubs and fraternal organizations have kept pace and exceeded expectations in many cases.
After three unsuccessful tries in the General Assembly, state lawmakers this spring passed a bill adding Worcester County to the list of eight other Eastern Shore counties that allow a limited number of slot machines in service clubs and fraternal organizations in an effort to enhance their fundraising efforts. The first slot machines opened for business in places like the American Legion and the Elks Lodge in Ocean City and at seven other locations around Worcester.
“The first two months of our slots operation have been outstanding,” said Ocean City American Legion Post 166 Commander Sarge Garlitz. “Of course, we had nothing to measure it against, but we are very satisfied with the results so far.”
Garlitz said the American Legion has donated around $14,000 to area non-profits and youth organizations during the first two months of the slots operations, which is about half of the net proceeds after the payouts and other costs are deducted. With the machines set to pay out around 80-90 percent, it’s clear the five machines at the American Legion are getting a lot of use.
State law requires 50 percent of the proceeds be donated back to the charities in the counties in which they are located and slots in the service clubs represent a big boost for their fundraising efforts.
“It’s a good feeling to be able to do this and knowing it is going to the right places only add to those good feelings,” he said. “In the first two months, we’ve donated over $14,000 to 19 non-profit charities, which is just about half of what we gave for the entire year in 2010.”
Over at the Elks Lodge, the results have been no less impressive. Ocean City Elks Lodge Treasurer Jim Flaig, also instrumental in getting the legislation passed, said slots at his organization are doing everything they were anticipated to do
“We’re doing very, very well as anticipated,” he said. “We’ve been able to really increase the amount of money going into the community.”
Flaig said in the first months alone, the Elks Lodge was able to generate $5,000 for charity, $3,000 of which went to Diakonia and another $2,000 of which went to Worcester GOLD.
“When you add up the nine organizations, you can see these are really generating a ton of money for the community,” he said. “These slots machines are doing everything we anticipated in terms of raising money for charity. I only wish we had them in place four years ago.”