The state Legislature is consider new regulation that would allow Batavia Downs to expand its hours and increase the types of games it offers.
Currently the Downs is limited to 116 hours per week. Under the proposal, the casino could stay open for 128 hours per week.
Among the new games being considered are electronic roulette and electronic blackjack. Right now, the Downs is limited to slot machines and video poker.
The moves are being eyed as a way to give the state a boost in revenue when it's struggling to close massive budget gaps over the next four years.
"We will consider them all if it will help us raise some revenue," Paterson said in an interview today with Gannett News Service.
Apparently, the legislature cannot expand the race tracks into full-blown casino's without a constitutional amendment.
I'm guessing that's why the facilities don't offer -- and the Legislature is not considering -- poker?
Poker remains popular throughout the U.S. It seems logical that it would be as successful at Batavia Downs as any place else.
Poker is one of the few games that gives the player a chance to consistently win money, since there is no house advantage (the house takes what's called a rake, a small portion of the opening bets) from each pot, and some pots can be won on the pure skill of an individual player (of course, there's luck involved, too).
Whereas slot machines, video poker and similar electronic games have a house advantage built right in. For example, even if a slot machine offers the nearly unheard of, outrageously high pay out of 98 percent, a player cannot beat it in the long run. Eventually, he is going to lose all of his money (it might take millions and millions of pulls, but the odds are against the player). Of course, short-term variance means most players either lose big or win big on any given day, which is the thrill that hooks in so many problem gamblers.
Blackjack offers a similar house advantage, which can be defeated by a skilled card counter -- but casinos will ban card counters when caught.
So why does the state sanction games that offer the player no real advantage while banning the one wager game that a skilled player can actually beat?
As a libertarian, I have nothing against these facilities offering these games, or the state legalizing them, or people playing them. People are free to make their own choices in these matters. I just don't get why poker isn't legal.