Racetracks Ahead of Local Lottery ParlorsPublished August 8, 2008 by OCR Editor
Local Slot Vendors get a horsy response from the state's problem gambling organization, claiming that their venues provide more addictive conditions than the racetracks.
Lawmakers neighed with disapproval on Monday as the 'Problem Gamblers Help Network of West Virginia' released a report, which showed that three times as many calls came from problem gamblers who played at local slot parlors as opposed to at racetracks.
This was surprising, considering the fact that the state's racetracks run a whopping 4,000 more lottery machines than the local vendors do.
Yet experts claim that it's not the numbers that count, but rather the atmosphere and conditions that cause gamblers to develop unhealthy gaming habits at the local parlors.
"...people don't go (to the local parlors) in groups. You're mainly there on your own. You walk in, plop yourself down and gamble" said Keith Whyte, executive director of the 'National Council on Problem Gambling.'
According to Whyte, besides the lack of a group and the horses, which might otherwise draw your attention away from gaming, the proximity of the local vendors to your daily routine makes it very convenient to gamble in between chores, such as picking up the kids from school or buying groceries.
Several important lawmakers responded angrily in response to the findings, including Minority House leader Tim Armstead (R-Kanawha County), who commented, "To those of us who have opposed the expansion of gambling in this state, there's always been that concern that the state should not be taking part in activities encouraging addictive and destructive behavior."
The report comes amid growing tensions from the local vendors due to legislation that was recently introduced that enables lawmakers to revoke slot machine permits when they come up for reissue in 2011.
On the bright side, the report left racetrack owners smirking and remembering the old proverb, "Never look a gift-horse in the mouth."