This gambling writer’s list of thanks
Gratitude is a very personal thing: The Midwestern farmer is grateful for a day of rain, while his neighbor, the golfer, is not. One event, two points of view.
Those of us with connections to the casino world are the same. A slot jackpot win comes at the expense of those who pumped coin after coin into the same machine for hours beforehand. A lower tax rate for your state’s casinos just means that money has to come from somewhere else – such as via your property taxes.
But there are some universal topics in the gambling world that I’d argue we all could be grateful for. Among them:
A compelling baseball World Series: Having a national team – the Chicago Cubs – made sports books happy, many of whom reported their best baseball action in years. Having a handful of storylines running, as well as a classic Game 7, made for compelling sports, even if you didn’t place a single bet.
G2E: If Vegas is Disneyland for adults, then G2E is the Space Mountain. Lots of noise, speed and sparkly things. And for slot players, it provides an advance viewing of the games that will soon be filling casino floors.
Public records on the internet: Because commercial casinos are taxed by states, that revenue necessarily must be available to everyone. So if you want to find out the action from the largest casino-hotel in your state or just how much those five slots in a small-town Illinois bar, it’s possible. You don’t even have to be a card-carrying journalist. See the latest analysis of Florida slots at http://gaming.unlv.edu/reports/fl_monthly.pdf
Mike Sexton: We always get interesting poker commentary from the man behind the mic at World Poker Tour events, and poker’s top ambassador gave us tales cardrooms across the world his book, “Life’s A Gamble,” this year. (Late note: the karmic wheel spun back around to Sexton last week, as he rode a hot streak to victory in the WPT main event in Montreal Nov. 18. He earned $425,980.)
AGA news briefings: The American Gaming Association has coordinated “Get to Know Gaming” conferences about once a month, giving us the stories of such places as Mississippi, Detroit and Pennsylvania. Sure, each one promotes gaming, but they also tell stories of regions that otherwise might not get the attention.
My state for gambling news: The tug-of-war between the Seminoles, Florida government, racetracks and those opposed to gambling often disproves the saying “there are two sides to every story.” Sometimes there’s three. Or four. Which means it’s never boring here in the Sunshine State. Current questions are how will the state respond to a court ruling allowing the Seminoles to offer untaxed blackjack, will racetrack casinos be granted “designated player” games and can a county add slots based on just a referendum?
Casino service: Because the casino world is so, so competitive, many gamblers choose which venue to patronize based on how they are treated. And that means everyone is on their toes, from the valet operator to the drink server to the shift manager in the poker room. I’m sure there are other industries where service is so vital – perhaps equally as vital as the product – but I can’t think of them. This focus on service makes everyone’s experience more enjoyable, even on those days when the slots or the cards don’t go your way.