Change Payouts at Tracks

Editor, News-Register:

Seems our local racetracks don’t know when they have enough. It seems to me every month we have to endure more whining about West Virginia losing money to Pennsylvania and we need to do more.

First West Virginia needed table games to compete with the Pennsylvania slots; now we need 24-hour gambling to compete. What are we going to do when Pennsylvania starts table gaming? Make minimum bets $50 on our table games or maybe we can explore prostitution?

I found it amazing how our West Virginia tracks used creative accounting to get their dismal message out that they are losing money. Didn’t you read it a couple of weeks ago in all the papers; we lost millions?

I seem to recall a profit was that any cash left over after expenses equaled profit. If you didn’t have enough money to pay the bills, it was a loss. Sure, profit may have been down, but it wasn’t a loss, as they would have you believe. They just didn’t beat what they earned last year so it now becomes a loss. Creative and deceiving, isn’t it?

Now here is a novel idea concerning how our West Virginia tracks can compete with Pennsylvania and win: People will go where they win or at least get some entertainment value for their dollar. All of us only have so much money to entertain ourselves and I can tell you from experience that walking into our tracks and dropping $100 in about 30 minutes is not very entertaining — it only entertains me to not being back for awhile. What I mean by entertainment is to sit and play a machine for awhile before losing my stake. If management at our tracks think I’m alone on this, do a survey with your patrons and see if they would rather see smaller, more frequent hits rather than larger less often hits.

I know the tracks don’t control the payout of a machine, that the internal computers do, but to compete you have to loosen them up. I have talked to plenty of gamblers who say the same thing: I’m tired of losing quickly; I don’t mind losing but I would like to have a little fun doing it. There have been plenty of times that I have put $10 in a machine and not gotten a hit. I had zero entertainment for that $10, unless you consider losing $10 in two minutes entertaining. Seems to me that people are going where they have a chance to have a little fun before losing their stake. I know I do. When I go to Pennsylvania, I hit better there than in West Virginia. I still may lose, but I get some entertainment for my money before doing so.

Wise up West Virginia: Do away with all the giveaways such as T-shirts, flip-flops, cars and petition the state to loosen up the machines. You’ll see the Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia patrons who go to the Pennsylvania slot tracks return.

Robert Givens