NYC OTB: Fasten your seatbelts…

Spent a relatively festive afternoon at Aqueduct on Saturday; the Toys for Tots bins that greeted me as I walked into the clubhouse were abundantly full, as was the container for the checks and cash that Big A patrons donated to help make Christmas a little more special for some needy children.

On the day that was meant to mark the first OTB-free day in New York State in decades, NYRA not-so-subtly guided what they hope will be former OTB customers to their ADW just after the turnstiles near the subway station:

I was told that as of Saturday afternoon, approximately three dozen people had signed up for NYRA Rewards accounts, an uptick from the usual weekend traffic.

Nice to see several Big A friends out at the track and to talk with them about the OTB bill that will purportedly go before the Senate this Tuesday. Alan Mann at Left at the Gate discusses the issue in detail; among the most striking elements of the bill are, as I tweeted Saturday afternoon, two provisions, one that will stipulate that NYC OTB make no contractual payment to NYRA for its signal, the other that will forbid New York State residents from using out-of-state internet wagering sites.

The absurdity of the first provision is evident without comment: why, yes, of course, NYRA will graciously say (as if, unfortunately, NYRA had anything to say about it, at all). By all means, sell our product, but don’t give us any money for it.  We’d love that. Thanks. Thanks again, New York State.

The absurdity of the second might be clear only to New York residents, practically inured at this point to the stupidity of our state government.  New York State law currently forbids NYRA from streaming live racing. That’s right: the State forbids the race track from streaming its own racing on its own website. So if you’re a bettor with NYRA Rewards who might like to see a post parade or watch the race in progress, you’re out of luck.

BUT: out-of-state advance deposit wagering options DO permit what New York State doesn’t.  Perhaps if the Senate would focus on amending its ridiculous laws about streaming racing, more NYS residents would wager at in-state ADWs. Ever think of that, folks?

And to be clear: anything that steers more NY betting dollars directly to the New York Racing Association would be a GOOD thing for New York horsemen, no doubt. But you can’t expect bettors to be happy about it when the State is requiring them to bet with a service that offers an inferior product, due solely in part to the State’s own stupid laws.

I have been outspoken in my belief that NYC OTB would not shut down; there’s simply too much money at stake for too many people for the people involved to let this (admittedly dysfunctional) system die. But as the Senate bill differs from the Assembly bill, even if the Senate passes it, it can’t go to the governor without the Assembly coming back to Albany.

And I can’t see this version of this bill ever getting to the governor’s desk for approval; I have to believe that someone, somewhere in Albany would recognize the disastrous consequences its passage would have for New York racing. Then again, any belief in New York State legislators falls smack into the “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” category.

So my money is, at this point, on this process continuing for just a little longer, with NYC OTB somehow – shockingly! – finding a way to forge on without the coffin being nailed shut, just yet.

3 thoughts on “NYC OTB: Fasten your seatbelts…

  1. This is why I used my Kentucky address to sign up for, which also allows you to do things like play 50 cent tris/P3s/P4s, which I also can’t do at NYRA tracks.

  2. If the coffin is not nailed shut on Tuesday, then I guess I will join in and say it never will be closed. But I think it’s curtins in Albany for these guys this time around. The word “Bailout” isn’t going over well with voters these days.

    Ian, I am registered Twin Spires acct in NY and and played 50 cent Pick 4 yesterday. It’s ironic NY was the first place you could play $1 exotics, yet still won’t handle .50 multi race wagers.

  3. Hard to say what’ll ultimately transpire, or what is even right at this point. There seem to be conflicting reports every few hours – the latest are gloomy. From 39 years of experience I can attest to the fact that your neighborhood NYC OTB branch is essentially an open sewer. Just make a decision and stick to it already!

    “Fasten your seatbelts” was one of my favorite Bob Murphy phrases. He loved to say it late in a ballgame when guys like McCovey and Stargell were stepping into the batter’s box.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s