While we weren't crazy about avoiding eye contact with the grumbling, chain-smoking masses outside the OTB on Delancey street, it looks even SADDER when it's dormant. But there's good news in today's Post for equine enthusiasts who happen to enjoy gambling: a Democratic state assemblyman and a Republican Senator are joining forces to resurrect off-track betting.
Citing the "disastrous collapse" of the billion-dollar drain that was the Off-Track Betting Corp., the lawmakers believe that "action is needed to save the state's horse-racing industry and prevent a surge in illegal gambling." Surely there's no illegal gambling happening today!
Of course there are plenty of hurdles to bring back OTBs, not the least of which is Mayor Bloomberg. And there are competing ideologies as to whether the companies should be privatized or remain under the government's wing. But Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos seem to have open minds, with Silver noting that "if there's something that can be done…that just doesn't continue the spiral of lost money…it's something we'd be interested in exploring." One person who will probably play a trifecta or two? Former OTB CEO Gene Rayburn, who was getting $125K a month for his services. A new OTB will probably want to cut back on the executive compensation.