Updated on 09/15/2011 12:14PM

Books offer goodies to draw horseplayers

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The recruitment of horseplayers in Las Vegas just got a little more exciting. The recent proliferation of handicapping contests is meant to attract new players to a racebook as well as reward existing players.

Leave it to two Stations Casinos - the Santa Fe and Texas Stations - to push the envelope further. Beginning Friday and every Friday thereafter, both properties will give away $2,500 in a lottery-style drawing.

"We're giving away money basically to our guests who are going to play here," said Micah Roberts, race and sports book director for Santa Fe Station. "That makes me feel a lot more comfortable than running a contest with people winning that we never see any other day. This is a rewards program. It's a random reward for our best loyal players."

His cohort in this promotion is Norm Stalzer, race and sports book director for Texas Station.

"There will be 32 winners at each property," Roberts continued. "We're each giving away $2,500 a week. The first ticket drawn will be the big one, $1,000. Then there will be $1,500 given away in 31 different denominations, from $250 down to $25. We'll draw at 10 a.m. Friday. Then you'll have until 9 p.m. on Friday night to collect."

Roberts explained how players obtain tickets for the drawing.

"For every $10 bet per visit at the windows, you'll get a ticket, up to 10 tickets for $100 bet.'"

Santa Fe and Texas will start giving away tickets Sunday for the first drawing on Friday.

Also Sunday, Sam's Town will repeat a promotion they held a day after the Kentucky Derby.

"We're giving away $3,000 Sunday," said Norm Kelley, race and sports book manager for Sam's Town. "Beginning at 10 a.m., we'll conduct drawings every 15 minutes, awarding $100 to some lucky guest."

Players are eligible to win multiple prizes.

The Sam's Town race book was packed the day after Derby and Kelly hopes for a similar turnout the day after the Preakness.

"We'll give a contest ticket when you come up and bet," he said. "There will be a drum at the front of the racebook where you can drop off your entries." To win any drawing, players must be present.

So, as the competition for players among the race book properties heats up, the main beneficiaries are the players.

Richard Eng is turf editor for the Las Vegas Review-Journal.