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NYS Closes Its Off Track Betting Parlors

From an irony proof New York Times:

Betting Parlors Close Their Doors in New York

December 8, 2010

After more threats of extinction than anyone could remember, the New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation unexpectedly made good on a threat of its own and closed the doors to its parlors on Tuesday night.

After the State Senate declined to pass an Assembly-approved bill designed to save the long-failing horse betting operation, Gov. David A. Paterson’s handpicked leaders of the corporation carried out their shutdown.

About 50 parlors around the city were shuttered. Some 1,000 employees lost their jobs. And a revenue stream that had funneled tens of millions of dollars a year to breeders, track owners and related businesses dried up.

How hilarious – and pathetic. They are closing because New York State can’t even make a profit off of gambling. They are that incompetent.

Still, why doesn’t the state turn these betting parlors over to the Indians. They seem to be able to run casinos at a sizable profit.

Another piece of gritty old New York had gone the way of the Automat and the Times Square peep show

Well, not quite. As the article goes on to note, OTB only started in New York City in 1971.

OTB’s total bets, known as the handle, fell to just below $1 billion a year in recent years as other legal gambling options became increasingly available and as interest in racing waned.

We remember when $1 billion was a lot of money. But why doesn’t The Times blame the Bush recession? Perhaps even they realize that, thanks to welfare, gambling is pretty much recession proof.

What was left from the handle — after paying back 75 percent to winning bettors — was still a major source of revenue, especially for upstate horse farms

Attendance at Aqueduct racetrack was up about 25 percent on Wednesday, to 2,651, compared to a Wednesday in early December 2009, according to the New York Racing Association. But total betting — including off-track wagers — on Aqueduct races was about the same as that day a year ago

You see what we mean by ‘recession proof.’

The city’s OTB operation was the first of its kind when it started in 1971. It carried the promise of taking the spoils of horse betting away from neighborhood bookmakers and channeling the profits to city services and the racing industry.

And exactly what city services benefited from OTB?

But problems quickly emerged. OTB became a patronage ground and infamous for loose spending. It was burdened by a requirement to pay the government’s and racing industry’s shares of the handle out of its gross receipts rather than with what was left after covering its expenses

Closing costs have been estimated at $19 million, and pension and health benefits for retirees could climb above $600 million. Track owners seem less likely than ever to collect the $67 million they are owed, and the state would probably lose the $11 million it has coming

Maybe New York should try its hand at running houses of prostitution. Though, come to think of it, they would probably screw that up, too. 

OTB said it would keep three locations open through Monday to allow bettors to cash winnings and close out their accounts.

At one of those offices, at Seventh Avenue and 38th Street in Manhattan, about 20 men lined up when the first teller window opened at noon. Some of them shook their heads in disgust or shock. The television screens and betting machines were turned off.

“It’s terrible,” said John Grassley, 77, a retired postal worker who said he had been an OTB bettor since it began. “I thought they would solve it at the last minute. They ought to privatize it, or turn it over to the Gambinos. Government can’t run anything.”

Well, a retired postal worker ought to know.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, December 9th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “NYS Closes Its Off Track Betting Parlors”

  1. NoNeoCommies says:

    So, the more money you give to the government, the more they waste?
    I am shocked! Shocked I tell you!
    Handing over profitable enterprises to the government ruins them in the end?
    Again, I am shocked!

  2. MinnesotaRush says:

    “They ought to privatize it, or turn it over to the Gambinos. Government can’t run anything.”
    from Steve .. “Well, a retired postal worker ought to know.”

    Thanks for the funniest comment I’ve heard all week, Steve! They’re always more funny with some truthful irony in ’em.

  3. Rusty Shackleford says:

    If ever there was an argument for legalizing drugs, there it is. Provided, of course, that the government is responsible for all aspects of it, from manufacture, distribution, warehousing, etc. All of it.

    You will see a drug-free America in about 5 years or less.

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