GGB is committed to providing updated news and analysis on our weekly news site,

Horses and Trade Shows

I actually went into a race book the other day. What, you thought I was going to talk about slot machines, just because it's November?

Horses and Trade Shows

I actually went into a race book the other day.

What, you thought I was going to talk about slot machines, just because it’s November? Well, it’s not really November yet as I write this, but to you folks out there in the future, it’s already November, and the newsboy just shouted, “Extra! G2E Trade Show issue!” as you walked by, and you gave him a nickel to get the latest issue of Global Gaming Business before you catch the streetcar.

Oops, sorry. I ended up in the past instead of the future.

But anyway, back to my original point. (Yes, I had a point. I’m sure of it.) I was at an Atlantic City casino with my two sons, and they wanted to go to the race book because it had a dedicated bar. As long as you’re betting on horses, you’ve got drinks right there, and they give you these coupons for freebies.

Not that the cocktail servers at this particular casino are slow, mind you—it’s just that they take, you know, minutes to come back with your cocktail. So, I enter this strange world—a smoky kind of place full of guys who looked like they were at work. Really. They were at desks, with video monitors in front of them, papers strewn all about. Actually, the fact there were glasses of whiskey and ashtrays all around made it look like an office from the 1950s.

Now, I know all about slot machines, and a little about table games (“Got any sevens?” “No, go fish!”), but I was lost when it came to the equestrian arts. I didn’t know anything about horse-racing either. (Insert rim shot here.) So I just go up to the window and pick a horse in a race that’s starting in a few minutes at Saratoga, or Laurel Park, Chester… It was one of those places. The only thing I’m sure of is that it was a track, and it had horses running around in a circle.

I used the full weight of my handicapping expertise to scientifically select a horse on which to wager, using a method perfected a century ago: Eenie, meenie, minie, moe. (Editor’s Note: That’s the first time I ever wrote those words in a professional capacity. The spell check seems to think it should be “Ernie, Weenie, Minnie, Moe.”) I picked a horse that sounded like a winner. His name was “Sounds Like A Winner.”

The horse came in 10th in a field of nine, but that was OK. I got a drink voucher. With the dollar wager and the tip, the total was two bucks for a drink. Just like at the Moose Lodge.

I repeated this process a couple of times: Pick a horse, get a drink. Next thing I knew, it was November. (The rest is a little foggy. All I remember is there were horses running around in a circle, and something about a ham sandwich.)

And of course, we all know what November means in the gaming industry: Yes, that’s right. It means the midterm election will finally take place, and we will henceforth be spared from political commercials, at least until next week when the 2012 political commercials start.

Can someone please tell me why politicians feel the need to say “I approved this message” when it is them delivering the message in the first place? Are they afraid we’ll think someone forced them to read a message they didn’t write or approve? Maybe someone has a gun to their head and is making them read it?

“I’m Joe Sestak, and I didn’t approve of anything I just said.”

But I digress. What November really means in the gaming industry is the big Global Gaming Expo, and all the slot manufacturers and system manufacturers and gizmo manufacturers will get together in Las Vegas and describe products to each other that almost exclusively create a “win-win situation.”

I even had a guy tell me recently that his product created a “win-win-win situation.” Wow. Three wins. Needless to say, I’m headed right to his G2E booth this month. Hey, who doesn’t want to win three times?

This is the last time the big trade show will be held in November, a fact that’s welcomed by some, and not so much by others. I like that it puts a little time between G2E and the January ICE show in London, because then I can get used to calling the displays “stands” instead of “booths.”

And I can get a little breather between win-win-win situations.

I’m Frank Legato, and I approved this message.

Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the books, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying, and Atlantic City: In Living Color.