Tip jar totals add up to millions

January 19, 1997


Staff Writer

People in Washington County gambled nearly $55 million in the first year that tip jars were regulated in the county.

After the winners were paid, $9.6 million was left over for expenses and charity, according to Washington County Gaming Commission statistics.

For the first time since the first gambling law was passed in 1995, people know just how popular the games of chance are.

"The only thing that makes it surprising is now that it's regulated and accountable we can see exactly how much is being gambled," said Sue Tuckwell, a member of the Washington County Gaming Commission. "That's a lot of money."


Of that, the Washington County Gaming Commission was able to distribute $586,000 to charity.

"There's still an awful lot in there that the clubs get to keep, but there's still an awful lot to be distributed," Tuckwell said.

The commission expects its proceeds to more than double to $1.3 million in fiscal 1997 because of changes made to the gambling law, said Coordinator Kathy Sterling.

She predicts gaming commission receipts to reach $1.75 million in fiscal 1998 and climb to $2.15 million in fiscal 1999.

But Tuckwell worries that nonprofit agencies might start to depend on gambling revenues.

"It may not be there in the future," she said, if the state decides to regulate gambling and take the proceeds.

Most of the tip jar gambling was done at private clubs, the records show.

But at least half of the gaming commission revenue comes from bars, Sterling said.

"They need to be thanked for that," she said.

The bar that raised the most for charity was Harman's Tavern, 502 Salem Ave. in Hagerstown.

Before expenses, the tip jars raised $141,190 on 2,092 tip jars played between July 1, 1995 and June 30, 1996, records show.

"It's like a family bar. They all play," said Donald Weir, one of the owners.

The average bar or restaurant had $29,774 in proceeds before expenses, records show.

The Herald-Mail Articles