The Lane Train

News and Pop Culture for the Blog Generation

OTB Saved, Drifters Rejoice

Posted by thelanetrain on June 16, 2008

Last week, in our ode to slick casino ads, we reported that OTB, arguably the seediest chain of anything in New York, was on the verge of shutting down due to Mayor Bloomberg’s orders and the inability to reach a revenue deal with the state government. Now, it appears that OTB has been saved (for now, anyways). The New York Times reported today that a deal finally arose between City and State officials, which now allows OTB to stay open, saving some 1500 jobs and keeping countless shady characters entertained while betting on exacta boxes without having to go to Belmont. In the new deal:

“The city will earn some $4 million from the winning-bets surcharge and $3.25 million more annually as part of a three-year agreement that lets OTB air its races on two city television channels.”

That’s pretty paltry, considering that citywide, OTB generates nearly $1 billion annually, taking in $125 million as profit. I had no idea that a place that smells like drunk deadbeats and Marlboro Lights had so much money pouring into it.

But the best quote of the article had to go to OTB attendee Ed Woods. Woods, a “seafarer” in his late 70’s, told the New York Times that:

“[Losing OTB] would have been tough on us retired people because we have no other place to go.”

Oh really, Mr. Woods? I know a place where lots of retired people go.


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