Facing shutdown, the Off-Track Betting Corp. has come up with a Hail Mary to try to stay financially afloat: they have started pitching bar owners on installing betting machines on their sites. The OTB is in serious danger of permanently closing down all 66 of its city parlors unless it receives immediate funding from Albany before April 11. They've already laid off 1,300 employees, suspended six-figure pay, and riled up gambling senior citizens—and you mess with them at your peril.
OTB has paid consultants to pitch the machines, which they call "kiosks," to more than 100 city bars recently, promising $2,500 for startup costs, and promising owners increased profits, saying patrons will spend "more time drinking, eating, and wagering." Bars would get cuts of the kiosk profits, and the rest would go to funding the OTB. OTB consultant Susan Fine said the OTB had obtained 100 "nonbinding commitment letters" from various city bars, although it seems as though the crucial bit is the "nonbinding" part: L. Quisqueya Bar and Restaurant owner Jesus Garcia said he signed a letter of intent because "they promised they'd fix up the backroom," but told the News he has since changed his mind and doesn't want the kiosk.
There is also the questionable matter of the money the OTB is throwing around which they theoretically don't have: they've already spent $180,000 on consulting fees over the last six months, and have also promised the bar owners a "$10,000 bonus for being one of the first 10 bars reaching $1 million bets within a year." But if you just give them a little more time surely they can turn it all around!