New York Assemblyman Wants to Revive Controversial Gambling Unit

New York Assemblyman Gary Pretlow is working on a bill to legalize sports betting, and it might include a controversial gambling unit. Off-Track Betting Corp. (OTB) provided outlets all over New York City where gamblers could wager on races until it was shut down in 2010.

After meticulously scrutinizing New York's online poker bill as chair of the Assembly Committee on Racing and Wagering, Pretlow proposes the state revive one of its most scandal-ridden public corporations.

City residents who worked near one of OTB's 50 former storefront gambling dens say they are magnets for gambling addicts and degenerates. One store owner said the OTB storefront that was once adjacent to his shop always smelled like urine and was used by the same patrons every day, religiously.

After Monday's the Supreme Court ruling on PASPA regarding sports betting, Pretlow said New York City needs the OTBs because local gamblers will be unwilling “to go to Monticello to bet on the Yankees.”

Though five OTB corporations continue to operate throughout the state, the one serving New York City was shut down due to corruption, scandal, and eventual bankruptcy in 2010. All 170 OTB storefronts in the state are located outside the city, including 50 locations on Long Island alone.

Pretlow says his sports betting bill will “come out shortly,” but Gov. Andrew Cuomo shut down any ideas of a swift passage. Cuomo stated Monday he does not expect New York to take any action on sports betting before the current session ends next month.

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