I have some friends in Cleveland, Ohio. They have worked in racing for 30 years, and have waited for the “life raft” of alternative gaming to create a new day. A time where racing pitfalls were to be solved, and revenue generated. The time has come, and things are not as smooth as planned.
At my age, I have found that with every wish and desire, there comes a price. Sometimes it manifests itself in the shape of change, and other times it brings good tidings for the game. With alternative gaming on the horizon, many things have been promised: revenue to be added to the coffers of the state, additional jobs for construction, and others out of growth, as well as the saving of jobs that have been in jeopardy. It seems as if there really is a Santa, and the waiting has been worth it…
First, the horsemen disputes still continue. The people that put on the game have waited to negotiate with new factions that are corncerned about growing our sport. They have been dissapointed by lack of meetings, and the rescheduling of contract talks until a later date. The issues they were going to address have been skipped. It is like the old rock song lyric: “Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.” But, this new boss doesn’t have a clue, and everything that was promised is being retracted.
Now, they don’t have an idea about a timeline, or even if VLT’s will ever come to fruition. The base of building has been put on wait, and things are a wait and see mentality. Funny, this wasn’t what was brought to the table in the beginning. But, I guess things change…..
The biggest joke was the new ownership would save existing jobs. There would be no bringing in their own staff. Hell, they wanted these people feeling good about joining the new wave of growth, and welcome to the family. This may rank right up there with: “Saying I love you on the first date, the check is in the mail, and mom, I really did wash my hands before dinner.” They made them feel welcome, and before the ink was dry….they were releasing people from their jobs with no explanations, and they had casino workers who could do the jobs. So much for saying they had nothing to fear. No explanations, no answers… Just no jobs… So much for saving the state jobs, and keeping jobs in the area for locals. No jobs would be given away, or at least until they inked the deal.
I have been the biggest supporter of alternative gaming, and I always backed the change casino companies could bring. Well, I stand corrected after my friends have been kicked to the curb. All jobs have been replaced, and they don’t care about the players and the relationships they have built over the years with current staff. Never have I seen such a reversal. I fear this may be a wave for the state, but for now it is just beginning. My hopes are that other companies in the mix will address the original issues. I have always believed in the plan, but round one has shown me another view. My feelings go out to the good folks in Cleveland. I am sure this is not what they signed on for, and it is a shocker. So much for change for the good. At first glance, it looks like you traded one poor model for another that speaks with a fork tongue.