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Newlin Talks Handle, Attendance

Published: October 18, 2011 2:09 pm ET

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"The industry, as a whole, should be promoting the game of pari-mutuel wagering, which is one of the purest forms of gambling. It's you versus me."

While he is quite cognizant of the fact that he was brought in to address many issues at the new Meadowlands Racetrack, new 'Big M' GM Mike Newlin is well aware that raising handle is right up there at the top of his list of things to do.

As he explained during an interview with John Brennan of The Record, there are many ways to boost handle. They may not strictly be direct factors like lower takeout rates and larger field sizes, secondary approaches can be utilized as well. According to Newlin, an inviting racetrack atmosphere with some key information to quell the intimidation factor goes a long way, as well.

"We'll try to do some things differently than most tracks, like getting people information they need into their hands as they walk in the door, whether it be a live program or a how-to-bet brochure," Newlin said.

He went on to state that the size of the building which houses racetrack patrons is a huge factor. A couple thousand people in a grandstand which holds 5,000 looks a lot busier than a couple thousand people in a structure which can accommodate 30,000.

"It's no different than going to a restaurant where there's only a few people there, and you get the assumption that it's not the place to be," Newlin said. "Yet, if you go to a smaller restaurant and it's packed, you say to yourself, 'Wow, they must have great food.' And we're talking about the same number of people."

(With files from The Record)

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