Jay Fergusonjay@deepcreekvacations.com301-501-0420

Rocky Gap Casino Resort flush with visitors; 1,000 estimated on first day

Greg Larry Cumberland Times-News

CUMBERLAND — CUMBERLAND — Nearly 300 people were waiting outside and in the lobby Wednesday when Rocky Gap Casino Resort officials emerged at about 4 p.m. to announce they had received a call from the Maryland gaming commission that they were approved to open.

Those waiting were immediately let inside the casino where the crowd continued to grow through out the evening.

Officials estimated about 1,000 people visited Maryland’s newest casino on its first day.

Casino officials had been waiting for the final approval of a license after a test audit of the casino’s procedures and functions on Monday.

The crowd began to build early Wednesday as expectations of the opening of its doors grew.

Receiving the call from the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency was Scott Just, the resort’s general manager, from Lakes Entertainment Inc., the operators of the casino.

“Our team is experienced in gaming and hospitality and is looking forward to providing a great gambling experience and exceptional guest services,” said Just.

A visit to the resort and casino Thursday afternoon found about 200 people playing at the 558 slots and 10 table games. Some players who spoke to the Times-News asked to remain anonymous, while others provided only their first names.

Rip Coulehan and his wife Shawn of Cumberland were among those who came out Thursday.

“It’s impressive. I just hope it brings people out and creates more positive attitudes in the area,” said Rip Coulehan. “It’s like a mini Las Vegas without the vulgarity.”

Another Cumberland resident, Denise, was asked for her impression when she walked through the door.

“I just said, ‘Wow!’ It’s very nice. I think it will do well. We need some excitement in the area,” she said.

Several of those at the casino were from towns throughout the tri-state region.

Husband and wife Tim and Chris Miller of Hagerstown spoke after Tim received $15 on a free spin and Chris receivied $7 as part of a current promotion for anyone who signs up for the resort’s Rewards Club. Upon signing up for the club, which is free, a member may win up to $500 as part of the casino’s Join, Spin and Win promotion.

“I think it’s nice. They have a lot of different machines and the people are very attentive,” said Chris Miller.

“I like that they have free coffee and soft drinks. Other places we’ve gone charge for that,” said Tim Miller.

Chris Miller said the couple’s goal was to “leave with a little more than we came with.”

Allegany County will receive 5.5 percent of casino profits, which officials laud as good news for the local economy. Increased income for the county is expected to help fund increased road improvements, health programs, education and more.

Rocky Gap Casino Resort, which is also constructing a new addition in the form of an events center, is expected to employ around 350 people.

Three women from the Bedford, Pa., area were enjoying playing the Pink Diamond video terminals.

“It’s fun and it’s close for us,” said one woman.

“They’ve done a nice job,” said another.

Another woman from Needmore, Pa., also had words of praise. “I think it’s nice and it’s a good thing for the area,” she said.

Lakes Entertainment officials stressed that gambling at the casino should be done in a responsible fashion.

In addition to the casino, the resort has four restaurants, a spa, an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course with walking trails, fishing and other activities.

Greg Larry can be contacted at glarry@times-news.com.

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Jay Ferguson

Who I Am My name is Jay Ferguson, and I am a lifelong resident of the Deep Creek Lake area. I am also co-owner of the real estate side of Taylor Made. I have been in the real estate business for 21+ years now and I LOVE what I do! I have to say, my career really took off when I co-founded the real estate side of Taylor Made in 2014. Its been an amazing experience, building a real estate company from the ground up and achieving so much so quickly! In August 2016, we purchased Long & Foster Real Estate Deep Creek, where I had started my career in 2000. In 2018, we on-boarded virtually every agent from Coldwell Banker Deep Creek Realty as they closed up shop and the real estate family grew even more! We now have over 40 sales agents and have expanded to West Virginia and Pennsylvania, as well. Taylor Made is the #1 vacation rental company at Deep Creek with over 475 vacation rental homes, and over one hundred thousand yearly visitors. Its amazing what we have accomplished using the principles of honesty, teamwork and customer service! Personally, my wife Jessica and I enjoy traveling and especially spending time in the outdoors, hiking and exploring the many diverse areas that Garrett County is naturally blessed with. We have raised two wonderful children here, Kayleah (22) and Noah (13). In the summer, we love spending time on the water with friends & family and enjoying the lake life! We are both active in our church, our community & local school activities, and we fill our schedule with plenty of volunteer efforts. I currently serve on the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity. I am proud to say that I was named Deep Creek Time’s Favorite ‘Community Champion’ in 2019. I was also named Garrett County Realtor of the Year in 2018-19, as well. I really enjoy promoting my hometown. I am very proud of the resort area that has developed over my lifetime and look forward to growing the area even more! Deep Creek Lake has been described as ‘The Lake Tahoe of the east', and I think that speaks volumes about the potential to own property here! Deep Creek Lake isn't really a town or city by itself; it's comprised of three towns: Oakland, Swanton & McHenry, Maryland. I am very passionate about my hometown and am impressed with how many people know about it as we travel around the country. Deep Creek Lake is an amazing place to visit and even better place to live! During the pandemic in 2020, our market exploded and more and more people left their primary residence in the city to live here permanently. With distance learning in schools and tele-commuting becoming the ‘norm’, many more people were drawn to the area to ‘live where they love to play’. Why You Want Me Working for You: In addition to being an owner, I am consistently one of the top-producing agents in the entire area and the Associate Broker of record for Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations & Sales. I have 21+ years of experience and I am a problem solver. There aren’t many situations that I have not encountered and I have a strategy for almost every scenario that you may encounter. I have extensively trained in all areas of real estate & emerging technologies, and also have trained as an appraiser, as well as served as a full-time Broker. I have a strong knowledge of the industry, as well as many trusted local contacts & affiliations that allow me to perform at a very high level and deliver results. I have a great deal of respect for my peers in this industry and have strong working relationships that I would love to put to work for you. Call me to discuss your situation - I know I can be of great service to you & others you care about! Honesty. Integrity. Results.