OPA Slots Impact Income
Commentary by Joe Reynolds
Good news for Ocean Pines. The State of Maryland published the money results for slots at Casino Ocean Downs for the month of January at http://slots.mdlottery.com/financial-reporting/.
State numbers indicate a total local impact grant of $166,948.20. OPA will receive a check directly from the Racing Commission for 10% of the total -- $16,695.
One can reasonably expect the monthly checks to OPA will average more than the January check because many more people will be in the resort area later in the year. It is reasonable to assume OPA will receive between $200,000 and $400,000 per year….. possibly more.
This is great news for Ocean Pines. So…. Who do association members thank for this direct impact contribution from the state? Board of Directors? County Commissioners?
The answer in both cases is a resounding, “No!” The OPA board and the County Commissioners opposed a change in Maryland law to provide OPA with a percentage of the slots impact fund proceeds.
The board, in its infinite wisdom at the time, supported all the impact money going to the county. Had things gone the board’s way, OPA would be in the position of going begging every year to the County Commissioners for a piece of the pie….. and having to prove impact.
The thanks for this substantial amount of money coming to OPA can only go to a non-partisan group of association members who came together to seek some equity for Ocean Pines. They approached then State Delegates Jim Mathias and Norm Conway, seeking a change in the law to provide a fixed percentage of the impact money for OPA, just as Ocean City and Berlin were singled out in the original legislation.
In the end, the OPA Board of Directors had no political influence, but the people of Ocean Pines did. State law was amended to provide 10% of the total county impact grant directly to OPA.
The OPA Board at the time (December 17, 2008) included Dave Stevens, Bill Rakow, Marty Clarke, Ray Unger, Bill Zawacki, John McLaughlin, and Les Purcell. Stevens, Unger McLaughlin and Purcell are serving on the current Board of Directors.
Here is a link to video segment of the December 17, 2008 Board Meeting where Commissioner Boggs made her successful pitch for board support of no fixed percentage of the slots grant for OPA and to see all the money go to the county.
With apologies to anyone I missed, here are the Ocean Pines people to thank for the monthly checks soon to arrive in the OPA mailbox from the State Racing Commission: