All Horse Racing
Online Horse Racing

OTB - Off-Track Betting


Is This the End of Off-Track Betting?

By Corey Kilgannon/New York Times/February 2008


The green façade of the Off-Track Betting parlor is a familiar presence on New York City’s storefront landscape. In addition to being wagering spots, the 61 branches, 8 restaurant locations and 3 theater-style betting centers across the city also serve as unofficial social clubs for core groups of regulars, with each branch reflecting the makeup of the neighborhood.

It is an ever-narrowing slice of New York that still belongs to the hustler and the old-timer. Soon it may be extinct, with the board overseeing city betting parlors having voted on Tuesday to shut them down by mid-June.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has pushed for the closing, which is being contested by officials that oversee off-track betting for New York State. The mayor believes the city is being shortchanged by Off-Track Betting because of state regulations the agency must follow.

By noon the narrow storefront branch on Steinway Street in Astoria, Queens — one of the two branches scheduled to close first (the other is on Hylan Boulevard in New Dorp on Staten Island) — is typically packed with local men speaking Greek and reading The New York Post.

The regulars show up, sip coffee, scribble on racing forms and step up to the betting windows or computerized kiosks to place their bets. With a backdrop of television screens showing simulcasts of races across the country, the customers chat and joke until post time and then spend a minute screaming at a TV set together. With each race, the floor gets littered with a fresh batch of failed betting slips.

Many bettors said they were skeptical that O.T.B. would truly shut down in the city, calling the board’s vote a bluff to force state officials to address problems in the betting operation. Some said they would probably stop betting the horses, while others said they would wager at Aqueduct or Belmont racetracks, or call a bookmaker, or place bets by phone.

We’d like to hear from the gamblers (and the nongamblers and the antigamblers) out there about what this means for them.  Email us!  support@allhorseracing.ag 


racing news icon

Racing News

Itsaknockout Promotes Mayweather Pacquiao Boxing Fight

April 28, 2015
Itsaknockout promotes the Mayweather Pacquiao boxing fight after the Kentucky Derby at Chu...Read more

American Pharoah completes final pre-Kentucky Derby workout

April 26, 2015
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - American Pharoah put in his final workout before the Kentucky Derby, and...Read more

Horses to watch for 141st Kentucky Derby

April 26, 2015
The Kentucky Derby routinely attracts a full field of 20 horses, even though half or more ...Read more

Kentucky Derby betting preview: American Pharoah sits atop odds

April 26, 2015
American Pharoah picked up his fourth straight win last Saturday in the Arkansas Derby. Vi...Read more

Kentucky Derby contenders get workouts in before rain

April 26, 2015
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - One week ahead of the Kentucky Derby, several horses completed their wor...Read more

Bet This on All Horse Racing, Not That: Oaklawn review

April 25, 2015
Bet This on Horse Racing: D. Wayne Lukas at Oaklawn in maiden special weight routes. Prior...Read more

Champion Uncle Mo sires first winner from first starter

April 24, 2015
Champion Uncle Mo got his first winner with his first starter on April 23 at Keeneland, as...Read more