So will the OTB shut down as planned today? The short answer: yes. The long answer: Yes, but there is a slim chance the city's off-track betting operation might reopen after Tuesday when the State Senate votes to bailout the money-losing operation. The problem is, as OTB chairman Larry Schwartz tells the News, "there's not [the needed] 32 votes in the Senate to pass the same bill that the Assembly passed." So while Albany scrambles to figure out what to do or not do, today is last call for all but three of the city's 54 legal betting parlors. Just in time for the holidays! The remaining three will remain open to cash winning tickets.
Of course, if the Senate vote goes better than expected on Tuesday, the organization (which handles roughly $750 million in wagers a year and yet still loses money) will "try to reopen." In the meantime those looking to place bets after today (who, if the these folks are any example, don't seem to be too broken up about the closings) have another option. Starting tomorrow the New York Racing Association is offering, until further notice, free bus service from select OTB parlors to the Aqueduct racetrack. And if you go this weekend you'll get a voucher for a free hot dog and soda or coffee. You can find the shuttle schedule here.
Update: In an emergency session today the OTB board voted to keep the bankrupt operation open through Tuesday to give the State Senate a better chance to work things out. "What changed is the Senate is coming back," board member David Cornstein told the Post.