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Gov. O’Malley signs new slots deal at Rocky Gap

CUMBERLAND — Some western Maryland lawmakers have high hopes for the Rocky Gap Lodge & Golf Resort now that the state is offering better terms to prospective slot-machine operators.

Gov. Martin O’Malley signed legislation Tuesday reducing the state’s take of Rocky Gap gambling proceeds to 50 percent from 67 percent in the first 10 years of operation.

The bill also requires the operator to buy and expand the resort, and it waives $3 million in machine licensing fees.

Republican state Sen. George Edwards says the new deal could bring as many as 200 jobs to the debt-ridden resort inside Rocky Gap State Park.

The site hasn’t attracted any serious bids since Maryland voters approved slots at five locations in 2008.

The bill authorizes up to 1,000 slot machines at Rocky Gap.