Yes, the gap is too big, yes the Outlanes are too hungry.
That said, the machine has made me a MUCH better player over the past 6 months. I've probably put 2,000+ credits on my machine personally since September. I played it 'stock' out of the box until the last software update when I moved the out lane pegs in to their closest position. In previous versions of the software, the scores were a lot more wild and luck dependent. As they have tightened and balanced the rules, it was becoming more about making progress on the ladders and less about multipliers and massive random jackpots.
now that the outlanes are on 'easy' the game is a lot of fun (if not a bit brutal). I have still never gotten to "were ready to believe you". I still cannot beat the Marshmallow man. But I try every day. and I am becoming a much better player because of the challenge. This is a game where if you make a single mistake, its likely you are going to loose your ball. Whether its hitting the X2 X3 targets while trying to go up the ramp, or clipping the stacked books captive ball, once that ball is flung off in a random direction not in-line with one of the lanes, there's a pretty good chance its headed for an outlane, or down the drain at a weird angle. The scolleri brothers perfectly illustrate this, as I loose my ball 90% of the time before collecting the jackpot for sinking them. Once that ball moves in a random direction, you're toast.
This game is all about ball control, and accuracy. Its a great teacher.