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NYC’s off-track betting slows to a trot

Alisa Roth Sep 3, 2009
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NYC’s off-track betting slows to a trot

Alisa Roth Sep 3, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: The State of New York runs a chain of betting parlors where you can put money on horse races without being at the track. But the New York City operation has been losing money. This week, New York’s governor signed an order to reorganize it under Chapter 9 bankruptcy. Reporter Alisa Roth has that story.


Alisa Roth: New York City’s Off-Track Betting — or OTB — takes in a billion dollars a year in bets.

Better: Give me five more to win on the 8.

It was created in the 70’s to take business from street bookies and give profits back to the racing industry. But over the last four years, OTB’s lost almost $40 million.

Bill Eadington directs the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada Reno. He says the question is whether restructuring can help the state create a winning business model.

Bill Eadington: Can they cut their payments to the tracks, can they cut their internal operating costs enough, can they stimulate demand?

Part of the problem is that horse racing has been losing its audience.

Father Richard McGowan is an economics professor at Boston College and an expert in gambling. He sees a good reason for New York to tough it out with the struggling business:

Richard McGowan: It would be an ideal spot to put either video lottery terminals or slot machines. And so in other words, use the space for all types of different gamblings.

An idea New York might just be willing to put it’s money on.

I’m Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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