PA parks want bingo to compete with slots at horse tracks

Posted Tuesday, June 24, 2003 5:15 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Fearing that parks like Kennywood would suffer as a result of proposed legislation allowing slot machiens at horse racing tracks -- with families abandoning the merry-go-rounds and roller coasters for a day at the track -- the Pennsylvania Amusement Parks Association is asking lawmakers to let them offer bingo.

Read more from The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003 5:32 AM
It looks like the Cedar Point argument from a few years ago. "We don't want it in the state...but it you are going to allow it than put it here."

I'm not sure I buy the argument that families would stop going to amusement parks in favor of tracks with slot machines. However, with all of the states that participate in lotteries, I find it pretty ironic that so many of them won't allow any other forms of gaming. Talk about a monopoly.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2003 6:58 AM
I don't get this. Are there really families out there debating going to the racetrack or going to an amusement park. Are there really kids out there telling their parents no I don’t want to ride the merry-go-round but box my exacta on the fifth race? Most tracks are dingy places which aren’t exactly family friendly anyway (churchill downs and saratoga excluded).

Bingo is probably not a big deal (fascination is just a form of bingo)- but if parks want to go this way it could be a slippery slope. Any other type of gambling would be tacky. Too much of that sort of stuff would probably just serve to drive families away.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2003 6:59 AM
Pennsylvania is a funny state that way...

I also have a hard time buying the "Let's go to the track instead of the amusement park because the track has slots and the park doesn't have bingo."

Somehow, I never considered race tracks a "family" sort of attraction. I could be wrong, but I just never did.

Now if a neighboring state would have bingo at parks, I could see it... maybe... sort of... Okay, not really... But it sure would make a heck of a better argument than saying "if the tracks have it, so should we"

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Kind of hard to take a post as objective if a park or coaster name is part of the "user name"

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Tuesday, June 24, 2003 7:18 AM
These parks are volleying for more ways to make money, that's all.

Can they survive without it? Hmm, let's see. My local park is two miles from a race track and 24-hour card house and 4-5 miles from the biggest casino/hotel complex in the metro area. VF doesn't seem to be going under.

-'Playa

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The CPlaya 100--6 days, 9 parks, 47 coasters, 2037 miles and a winner.....LoCoSuMo.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2003 9:00 AM
CPLady's avatar Actually, the slots at the race tracks is an issue here in Michigan as well. Race tracks are not doing as well since the casinos have come onto the scene. They want to bring the gamblers back to the race tracks.

It's certainly not going to take away from the amusement park industry...especially considering amusement parks are FAMILY oriented.

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I'd rather die living than live like I'm dead
http://www.webtechnik.com/ebony/CPLady.htm

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Tuesday, June 24, 2003 9:25 AM
Jeff's avatar The great irony is that adult destinations like Vegas have tried to draw more families with water parks and such, while Orlando tries to make more adult attractions. I don't see why amusement parks in general would be any different.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
DELETED!

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Tuesday, June 24, 2003 11:56 AM
The parks are thinking along the lines that people only have so much entertainment money to spend. Certaintly, gambling at a casino is more risky than going to KW or Knoebels.

However, this legalizing casinos may be the only way for the Penguins to get a new arena. So I'm on both sides of the fence here.

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2002/2003
KWTM

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Tuesday, June 24, 2003 4:03 PM
I think the most striking statement of the article is as follows:

Jerome Gibas, the association's vice president and executive for Idlewild and Soak Zone, in Ligonier. "That's our concern. We think revenues in general are not going to increase. Pittsburgh's not a growing market."

If Kennywood/Idlewild does not consider Pittsburgh a growing market and they see bingo as a means to compete then they have their head burried in the sand. Why not instead build bigger and better coasters that draw people to your park instead??? Where is the vision for the future???

I can hear it now, "Come to Kennywood, the Bingo Capital of the World!!!" Doesn't this scare anyone????

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Every coaster is a labor of love that begins as a gleam in someone's eye, except at Kennywood, where the visions of Bingo chips is the thrill of the future.*** This post was edited by Spirit in the Sky 6/24/2003 8:04:21 PM ***

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Tuesday, June 24, 2003 4:08 PM
Well I've always seen people playing bingo in the picnic pavilions at kennywood and never thought it wasn't allowed, the equipment is brought out every morning for the groups who want to have raffles and play bingo.
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The Jokes on You!! Ha Ha
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Tuesday, June 24, 2003 4:15 PM
Our Governor, Bob Erlich, tried to get slots put in at race tracks here in Maryland also, using the argument that too many people are traveling to West Virginia and Delaware to gamble. As a result of it not being passed, he slashed some of the budget.
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If you have a problem with clones, the solution is real simple—Stop traveling.
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Tuesday, June 24, 2003 4:16 PM
Jeff's avatar Spirit: Where exactly do you suggest Kennywood builds these bigger and better coasters?

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
DELETED!

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Tuesday, June 24, 2003 4:27 PM
The shopping plazas that surround Kennywood present day were not there when I was a kid. When Walmart arrives in any town does it say . . . "Aww too bad, there is no room for us." I dont think so. The reason why Kennywood has no reason to grow is it lacked a vision that needed it to.

Idlewild has a unique charm that attracts young families with small children and I am not suggesting we change that. But perhaps expansion by means of addittional location may be in order. It had been true that Allegheny County had the second highest elderly population next to Dade County Florida, if that is true, then maybe Bingo is the way to keep the elderly coming when they get too old for the Phantom's Revenge.

Forbes Magazine just ranked Pittsburgh as one of the worst places for the young and single. With visions of Bingoland, no wonder.

Take the Dragster, over 400 feet tall. The Johnstown incline (a train to carry a car strait up a bluff ) is almost 500 feet tall. While the PR attempted this, try putting the Dragster on top of one of those bluffs and then dip an extra 500 feet. Flat places like Cederpoint would be years behind in the tallest fasted race.

Where there is no vison the amusement parks perish.

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Every coaster is a labor of love that begins as a gleam in someone's eye!

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Tuesday, June 24, 2003 6:05 PM
The fact that Kennywood still exists after all this time, in spite of being a small landlocked park in a city, speaks volumes for the vision they DO have.

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--Greg, aka Oat Boy
My page
"Another visitor. Stay a while. Stay FOREVER!"

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Tuesday, June 24, 2003 6:57 PM
Point well taken, but I must admit I long for something more much closer to home then Bingo as the next great draw.

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Every coaster is a labor of love that begins as a gleam in someone's eye!

*** This post was edited by Spirit in the Sky 6/24/2003 11:06:14 PM ***

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Wednesday, June 25, 2003 5:49 AM
Bingo will NOT be the "next great draw". Parks like Kennywood need to plan their additions, but add they will. This attempt to get Bingo is a cute little sideshow that might generate some extra income for the parks in question, but it's not in leiu of a new coaster.

And as for that Forbes "study", the writers of that article can shove it up their collective butts. I'm 33, single, and love Pittsburgh. It's got enough big city attractions to keep me occupied, without the traffic or crime. I have a girlfriend, I have a social life, I have my favorite bars and restaraunts. What more can you want?

But I digress...

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--Greg, aka Oat Boy
My page
"Another visitor. Stay a while. Stay FOREVER!"

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Thursday, June 26, 2003 11:19 PM
To those of you posting from anywhere outside of Western Pennsylvania, parts of West Virginia and Ohio, and occasionally small segments of New York state and Maryland, I have one thing to say:

Kennywood isn't trying to attract you with Bingo. Get that into your head.

In fact, Kennywood isn't really trying to attract anyone outside of those areas, period. Some ambitious coaster enthusiast who goes to Kennywood enough times a year (*cough*Greg*cough*) should take a random survey of the guests, simply asking them if this is their first time to Kennywood or not. I would guess that 90% of the people at Kennywood on any given day have there at least once before, and the vast majority of those people would probably say they go to Kennywood "every year" or have been going there "since they were a kid." And a lot of those people probably think that "Steel Phantom's 700-foot drop" is the biggest in the world. Get my drift?

Besides. Did a little bingo ever hurt anyone? Sure, the Tracks vs. Amusement Parks argument is a little hokey, but so is the idea that bingo is the gateway drug for Kennywood to start offering roulette, blackjack, and poker.

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Matt Lynch, whose card-playing skills are limited to the occasional few rounds of Acey-Deucey...

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Friday, June 27, 2003 11:04 AM
Before I open wide and insert my other foot into my mouth, I would like to say this, that NEITHER THIS POST NOR MY OTHERS, WERE AN ATTEMPT TO TRASH KENNYWOOD. I too USED TO go to Kennywood every year . . . and even took my childeren FOR A WHILE. But they, and me, got bored with the place.

I undestand very clearly the marketing stagey as a LOCAL traditional theme park, but it was only "land-locked" in the minds of the owners. As I have stated, the shopping plazas sure found room to expand.

But it saddens me to hear the "no growth" expectations, and that slots can really impact their revenues and therefore need Bingo to compete. . . and those are their words, not mine.

Their traditional coasters are still better than many being built today. But the vision that created those coasters to be high quality, innovative as well as inviting, has long abandoned the place.

This years great draw was to repaint, and rename some existing rides and call it Volcano Valley. (Branson Mo's water park had Palm trees and a tropical draw almost 14 years ago). Look how long it took for Kennywood to build a water park, and they did that by finding an additional location. In my mind they are way behind in the curve of what's current. And I would argue against the idea that one has to be either traditional or innovative. Why not both?

Sad to say, when I get the urge to feel nostalgic about my childhood, I too will return to KW like many of my friends who now drive to SFWOA and CP. But it doesn't look like I will return for the traddition of innovation. Who will listen that we are longing for something more??

Thank you for hearing me out. May Kennywood always exist

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Every coaster is a labor of love that begins as a gleam in someone's eye!

*** This post was edited by Spirit in the Sky 6/27/2003 7:12:55 PM ***

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