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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Ocean Downs seeks expansion

SNOW HILL — William Rickman, owner of the Casino at Ocean Downs, hopes to expand into other forms of entertainment. 

Site plans filed with the Worcester County Department of Development Review and Permitting reveal he wants to add a 34,430-square-foot movie theater and an 11,251-square-foot bowling alley on the Ocean Downs property at the northeast intersection of Route 589 and Gray’s Corner Road. 

The site plans for the project will be reviewed during the Technical Review Committee’s meeting at the Government Office Center in Snow Hill on Sept. 7. 

The Casino at Ocean Downs opened in January and has 750 video lottery terminals, more commonly known as slot machines.

The enabling state legislation stipulated that the video lottery operation licensee could not build public accommodations such as a hotel, convention center or conference center within a 10-mile radius of the casino. The legislation also prohibited dancing and live entertainment. 

The stipulations were put in the legislation because of concerns that Rickman might offer free food, drinks, and hotel stays to people frequenting the casino. 

There has been talk of expanding the forms of gambling at the casino, which is now permitted to have slots and electronic table games. The slots range from penny games to $5 games and the electronic games are for roulette and blackjack.

Sen. Jim Mathias was a strong opponent of any form of gambling when he was mayor of Ocean City and as a state delegate, he voted against a slot machine gambling bill that included Ocean Downs. Despite his prior opposition to gambling, he has said he would support a bill in favor of table games at Ocean Downs.