Ilya Marritz covers business for WNYC.
Illegal Bookies Predicted to Make a Comeback as Off Track Betting Disappears
Monday, December 13, 2010
The last three horse betting parlors in the city will close their doors Monday, after New York lawmakers failed to agree on a rescue plan for Off Track Betting.
Even though horse racing is not as popular as it once was, NYC OTB still took in close $1 billion last year. In recent years, OTB has run a deficit because the law requires that it share revenues with government and the racing industry.
OTB board member David Cornstein says patrons who want to place bets will soon find a new outlet with underground operators.
"It'll be a local bookmaker or, from what I understand, they now have a lot of places offshore. But it's not gonna go away," Cornstein said.
Forty years ago, New York was the first state in the nation to create an off-track betting system, with the goal of taking illegal betting above ground and generating revenue for local government.
Governor David Paterson's office is now working on a liquidation plan, to sell off assets and break leases on more than 60 betting parlors.