March Casino Numbers Released

BERLIN — After three months of operation, business at the Casino at Ocean Downs has been remarkably consistent, according to revenue numbers for March released this week.

The Casino at Ocean Downs grossed $3.25 million in March, up slightly from the $3.13 million generated in February. However, it’s important to note the facility was open 31 days in March compared to 28 in February. During its first month of operation in January, the casino grossed just over $3 million, but did not open until Jan. 4, resulting in just 28 days that month.

Perhaps more telling is the average daily gross per machine, which suggests a leveling off if not a slight decline. The average daily gross per machine in March came in at $139.83, which is down considerably from the $149.19 recorded in February. Year-to-date, the casino is averaging $144.36 per machine per day.

A look at the breakdown of the distribution of the revenue for March shows $1.57 million was dedicated to the Educational Trust Fund, the casino’s share was $1.07 million, $227,000 plus was dedicated to the horse racing purse account, while $178,800 was dedicated to local impact grants. The year-to-date totals now include $9.4 million in gross revenue, with $4.6 million to the Educational Trust Fund, $3.1 million to casino, $659,000 to the horse racing purse account and $518,000 in local impact grants.

Changing Of Guard At Jail

SNOW HILL — A smooth transition is expected at the Worcester County Jail after longtime Warden Ira “Buck” Shockley officially retired last week and was immediately replaced with Assistant Warden Garry Mumford.

Shockley retired last Thursday after 39 years of public service to Worcester County including the last 29 as warden of the county jail. He began his career in the county as a deputy sheriff and jailer on August 1, 1972 in the old, small county jail behind the Worcester County Courthouse.

Shockley was promoted to Lieutenant of Operations in 1978 and officially became warden on January 1, 1982. Under Shockley’s watchful leadership, a new Worcester County Jail was constructed in 1980 and the correctional institution quickly became recognized as one of the finest institutions of its kind in the state.

County officials this week announced former Assistant Warden Garry Mumford has accepted an offer of promotion to warden. In October 1987, Mumford joined Worcester County government as an investigator for the state’s attorney’s office. In December 2000, Mumford transferred to the Worcester County Jail where he began serving as Assistant Warden for Security and Custody.

Before his career in local government, Mumford served in the U.S. Army from 1982 to 1987. He has served as a member of the Worcester County Board of Education from 1999 to the present, including as stint as the elected body’s president. Mumford this week promised a smooth transition at the Worcester County Jail.

“As warden, my goal is to continue the success of the Worcester County Jail,” he said. “Our jail is one of the finest institutions in the state of Maryland. I recognize that my job is made easier with the help of the team that makes up this great organization.”

OC Woman Wins Casino Camaro

BERLIN — Most of the Casino at Ocean Downs’ winners pull the arm of a slot machine to earn a big payout, but for Brandi Zirckel of Ocean City, it was the use of her Player’s Rewards Club card that landed her behind the wheel of a unique jackpot – a 2011 Chevrolet Camaro.

Zirckel claimed the keys to the black sports car after her name was randomly pulled last Saturday. Rewards Club members received one entry for each point they earned on their cards during the three-month contest.

“We’re very excited for Brandi and thrilled by the success of this event,” said Casino at Ocean Downs General Manager Joe Cavilla. “We’ve welcomed more than 27,000 members to our Player’s Rewards Club since our opening just three months ago, and having that beautiful car in front of our building certainly contributed to that number. More importantly, though, we’ve heard from lots of guests how excited they are to be earning points while enjoying their favorite machines. Of course, I don’t think any of them are more excited than Brandi is right now.”

County Burns Planned

SNOW HILL — Worcester County Environmental Programs recently issued a permit for The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to conduct a series of controlled burns on land owned and managed by TNC in the Mount Olive Church Road area west of Snow Hill beginning this week through early summer 2011.

Over the next several months, residents may see smoke and crews of trained professionals conducting the controlled burns in this area. Area fire agencies are informed prior to each controlled burn, and the events are monitored by trained TNC representatives.

Controlled burns are meant to replace wildfires in the area and decrease invasive woodland plants, remove dead leaves and expose the soil and seeds to the sun’s rays to encourage native plant growth.