The Boys’ Club

#Gambling #History - #Barbara #Stanwyck














It was one question I didn’t see coming. – ” Why do you think there are so few women playing the races?” – They play poker, blackjack, slots, video poker, and a dozen forms of games. – Why not the ponies? – For the first time in a long time, I was in a lip-locked hush.

She was a real lady. Not a pretender, but a solid player. She didn’t want free programs, dinners, or a free drink. She just wanted a moment of my time as she watched me walk the room taking the temperature of the big players. – “Look at how you’re handling the players. How many ladies did you approach? – She lost $8,000, and the older lady in the corner is good for $3,000 a day if not more. – How did you miss this? – You’re pretty good at what you do, but you missed two nice players you could have grown into bigger.

“I don’t know. What did I do wrong?” – You grew up learning the game with your dad, grandpa, or other men. No women. They went along for the ride and weren’t viewed as gamblers. – That was the old way. If you want to keep with the times you’ll have to dig a bit deeper as they float under the radar. They feel the perks you give are for the boys and you’ll look right past them. – She was right. Why did I look past the lady players? – We spoke, I was cordial, and made sure they always had the table they enjoyed. – But I missed the biggest part.

I had grown up watching men play the ponies. The place packed to the hilt with wafting smoke of cigars and loud talking. – Back in the day women were along for dinner, the evening, and just to watch. Horse racing left plenty of money on the table. – The men were there and the waves of competition hadn’t arrived. Women were just overlooked. – What a shame. Some of the best gamblers I have watched over the years at casinos are women. They are patient, no ego, and love to be overlooked. That gives them the edge that every gambler would kill for. – Did casinos see into the future or were they light years ahead of one of the oldest games around?

I started immediately. – I had ladies-only handicapping seminars with great giveaways. We had drawings for Las Vegas and betting voucher giveaways. – Start off at 101 and each month progress to the next level – Ladies started playing but we were so far in the rears it was going to take years to catch up. – This took place until competition squeezed the profits to nothing. Tracks couldn’t target market and invest in players. – This is the beginning of the end.

If I ever get the opportunity to take another shot. You can bet dollars to donuts I’ll target many segments of the player base. – No one will be left behind, but it’s going to be a long road. – But if you stand back and watch you’ll see the difference pretty quick. – In reverse of what casinos did to other venues that offered gambling, I want to look even closer. – It can pay off and not only grow new horseplayers but to build guests who will see your venue as an entertainment destination with many forms of gambling. – The playground still has room to grow and for this gaming employee, the sky is the limit.