SNOW HILL — On Wednesday, April 17, the Maryland Board of Public Works named Worcester County as one of three fund managers to oversee the distribution of loan funds generated by Maryland casinos. These funds will be available in the form of loans to small, minority, and woman-owned businesses on the Eastern Shore.
In January, Worcester County, home to the Ocean Downs Casino, strategically aligned with Anne Arundel County, home to the Maryland Live Casino, and applied to the state to manage the loan funds. With the application now approved, Worcester County will receive approximately $430,000 annually for business loans beginning July 1, 2013.
“As a directly impacted jurisdiction with a casino in our community, we are pleased that these dollars will come back to Worcester County to create jobs here,” Worcester County Commission President Bud Church said.
Money will be available for companies with fewer than 500 employees and annual revenues that average $35 million or less over three years. All selected fund managers will need to lend up to 50% of the $7.8 million within a 10-mile radius of Maryland’s three existing casinos. This will ensure additional lending capacity above and beyond the Worcester County allocation. Locally, this means that 50 percent of Worcester funds must be used within a 10-mile radius of the Ocean Downs Casino. Worcester County Economic Development (WCED) will begin accepting applications for loans ranging from $25,000 and up on May 1.
“Because Worcester County’s application has been approved, yearly awards of approximately $430,000 will be available to the county for up to five consecutive years,” WCED Director Bill Badger said. “Such an award has the potential to bring Worcester County more than $2 million over the five–year time frame to support local businesses. We want to get the word out that there are many businesses in the county that will be eligible for these loan funds,”
Revenues for this grant program are generated from 1.5% of all Maryland casino yearly proceeds as required by State law. For more information about the grant program, contact WCED at 410-632-3112.