Wagering on slots at the Saratoga harness track is up 2% from last year over the first nine months of the fiscal year beginning last April 1; that according to Paul Post in the Troy Record. And if you think, as I do, that any such increase is astounding given the dismal economy and the prevailing gloom over the near-term outlook, check this out.
Of the state’s eight racinos, seven have posted gains this year, while only Monticello’s numbers have gone down.Overall, the increase is 11.4 percent. Some of that may be attributable to Yonkers benefiting from high gas prices and the staycation effect. But that's history, and besides, any way I look it, it's still unbelievable. What the hell is it about slots that makes it resilient even in this economy? Lottery ticket sales have gone down or remain[ed] flat. And we know about racing handle, in New York and most other states as well.
Saratoga has the second-highest total income after Yonkers....But Saratoga’s 2 percent gain is the lowest, year to date.
Every other harness track has had double-digit percentage increases and Finger Lakes is up 8 percent.
One thing's for sure though is that people like to gamble. I'm starting to think that maybe track officials really have no excuse when they blame the economy; obviously the appetite is there. It indeed may just be the case that they have no shot against the electronic bandits, a game for our times, no thinking required, soothing sights and sounds, and the chance that any
But on the other hand, there's also gotta be something to said for nice, comfortable new facilities with dining and entertainment. Look around the websites of the state's racinos - Finger Lakes, Vernon Downs, Tioga Downs, the Yonk, Batavia, Buffalo, Saratoga, and they all have something to offer. And while Monticello may be dreary and struggling now, wait until the new track opens at the Concord.
Of course, thoroughbred racing takes place during the afternoon for the most part, so nightclubs are not going to do the job. And we all know that racinos have not done anything to boost the business of the accompanying racing even when it's at night. But they seem to be succeeding in luring customers with attractions and attractive facilities, and that's not part of the deal at tracks, at least at the ones I go to.
- New York's racinos are already built. The matter of constructing flashy new slots parlors in this economy is another matter however. Thus, no surprise that there was tepid interest to build slots parlors in Maryland; just six bidders submitted proposals for the five slots locations, with only one of them, Anne Arundel County, the home of Laurel Park, receiving more than one bid. Penn National proposed to house only 500 machines - out of 2500 allowed - in Cecil. "What we're hoping to do by filing this application is to remain in the process now," a company spokesperson told the Baltimore Sun.
"We would have had more bidders if the economy were better," said House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel). "Capital is drying up . . . and it's just a tough time." [Washington Post]- No news of course regarding Aqueduct and Delaware North. "We just can't seem to get to the finish line. I don't know what's holding it up." That quote could certainly be from a NYRA official today, but it's actually former NYRA VP Bill Nader lamenting the delays in July, 2006.