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A Hope For NYC OTB?

Published: February 22, 2011 10:30 am ET

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New York Racing Association CEO Charles Hayward has been quoted as saying that the future looks brighter with the bankrupt New York City Off-Track Betting out of the way. Although, if State Senators have their way, NYC OTB may not be dead and gone.

An article by Bill Finley on ESPN.com quotes Hayward as saying, "With OTB closing, there may be some short term pain, but I think this will turn out to be a huge positive over time. The opportunities for New York racing are so much better going forward, and not just for NYRA but for racing across the state."

Finley's report conveys that horseplayers in the state have hung tough through the tumultuous time and have come back with vigor to wager.

Although, as soon as many figured that NYC OTB was a thing of the past, it was announced via release on Sunday, February 20 that State Senators Martin J. Golden and Andrew J. Lanza have introduced legislation which would allow a vendor selected by an RFP process and approved by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board to run NYC OTB and resume operations in a manner which would support the state's racing industry.

The releases states that the legislation would allow a private vendor to provide the same service previously offered through the operation of NYC OTB. The bill would require the private vendor to give employment priority to former NYC OTB staff members and would set provisions for the payment of health benefits for NYC OTB retirees. Additionally, the bill would require at least three facilities to be opened within each of the five boroughs of New York City.

Senator Golden is quoted in the release as saying, “The closing of operations of the New York City Off-Track Betting corporation was preventable and this legislation presents a plan to bring it back in a superior form. This bill addresses the problems that closing OTB caused, including job and benefits loss, and that is why I urge my colleagues to support this bill and ask for swift legislative action in the Senate and the Assembly.”

Senator Golden went on to say, “This is our chance to bring back OTB to New York City to make it profitable long-term, generate revenue, and create hundreds of jobs. We cannot simply abandon the workers and the role that OTB has played in our City since 1972.”

(With files from ESPN.com)

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