Teaching and Learning Opportunities at the Aqueduct Casino

Though most of the New York racing world’s attention is focused upstate at Saratoga, the good folks at the New York Times are making sure that we don’t forget about our cousin in Ozone Park, where the slot machines continue to whirr, even though racing has left the Big A for the summer.

On July 13, the Times published a story detailing the epidemic of human vs. slot machine violence plaguing the Genting casino.

Apparently, the recalcitrant machines aren’t coughing up winners quite as often as the patrons would like, leading them to “punch, kick, or slap” the offending machines.

The perps are reportedly unrepentant, but given the unexpectedly low crime rate at the casino, the trend may be a welcome one…unless, as the author points out, you’re a slot machine. Or a hand.

“I absolutely recommend against punching the machine,” said Stephen Troum, who is the chairman of the public awareness committee for the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.

But this particular social ill provides, in the eyes of the Times, an educational opportunity.

On the same day the story was published, the violence was highlighted in the “Kids Draw the News” feature on the paper’s City Room blog.

Cautioning that “gambling is for adults only,” the assignment appropriately offered background on the way that slot machines work.

A gambling machine costs money to play, but if you win, a lot of money can come out and you get to keep it.

The paper did not offer tips for parents of children who read this and wanted to spend their summer vacation at Aqueduct.

Children 12 and under were then invited to illustrate “any aspect” of this news story they wanted.

Submissions are not yet available on the Times website, but as a someone who regularly reads the TimesLearning Network, I want to thank the paper for offering this teacher and turf writer yet another way to combine two things I love, inspiring me to spend part of my summer lesson planning time scanning the Times’ archives for other racing stories that might offer artistic and educational opportunities for my students.

One thought on “Teaching and Learning Opportunities at the Aqueduct Casino

  1. I’ve never understood the appeal of a casino, other than for some interesting people watching. After about 15 minutes (in which I have likely lost all my allotted gambling funds) I am bored to tears….
    It always amazes me when we go to Delaware Park the number of people inside glued to the slots on a beautiful sunny day, as well as those inside glued to the simulcasts when there are real live horses running around right outside!

    I am curious to see what the kids’ come up with in their drawings 🙂

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