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OTB Gets State Attention, County Objects

By Susan Barnett


Hudson Valley, NY –
New York wants to make some changes to Catskill Off Track Betting Corporation as well as the other OTBs in the state - and that's got some county officials nervous. Hudson Valley bureau chief Susan Barnett reports the head of Catskill OTB says the state's using OTB revenues for horse racing instead of education.

Orange County executive Edward Diana and his county legislators are opposing the regional off track betting company because they have concerns that a million dollars a year the county gets from OTB would suddenly disappear into state coffers. The county legislature has passed a resolution opposing any takeover. Catskill OTB operates in the Catskills and Hudson Valley region and Donald Groth is its president.

Groth says the state has been propping up racetracks with OTB revenues while racetracks are losing business by installing video gaming terminals that are bleeding money from the races.

A state takeover is what Orange County officials are concerned about. The County executive says if the state takes that revenue stream, county taxes would have to go up. Mahoney says that's just the opposite of what the state's looking for. Donald Groth says the OTB is a well run state entity - but New York is using it to subsidize horse racing and slot machines.

In Connecticut, the state is no longer in the gambling business. It sold the lottery and it sold OTB in the 90s when it needed revenue- and now acts strictly as a regulator.

The OTB battle in New York isn't a full scale war yet, but the sabre rattling has begun.


NYS Task Force on the Future of Off-Track Betting