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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

OTB Takes Page from Capital Playbook

- Two of Capital Play's ideas to bring people back to the track are to attract young women to the races, and to use spruced-up OTB's as a means to attract people to the sport and get them to the track. It seems as if the folks at NYC OTB are getting a head start on both strategies. The Daily News reported that OTB is planning to put freestanding wagering terminals in several bars in the city.

These moves are designed to get more New Yorkers - especially women and younger people - gambling on horse races.
Several women told The News that OTB machines in bars will likely spur more female interest in horse racing, but questioned if that was a good thing.

"People can lose a lot of money because they might be drunk and not thinking carefully," said 32-year-old Tai Smith of Washington Heights. "But I think the novelty will attract women."
An, lighten up; of course, it's a good thing. OTB will also set up a wagering tent in Times Square, with giant TV screens and bet-takers dressed in jockey silks; either short customer representatives, or jockey silks from the Big and Tall Shop.

In addition, the New York Sun reports:
The corporation will soon open a sleek parlor on West 72nd Street with plasma screens and a VIP lounge, and it is launching initiatives to pull in younger gamblers and "break down the barriers that exist for people to try sports racing," [OTB President Raymond Casey] said.
It will have flat screens instead of old televisions, interactive wage machines, and walls covered with high-resolution murals of horses thundering down the track. The VIP lounge will allow "folks who wager a few hundred thousand dollars a year" more room to spread out and analyze information about the horse races, Mr. Casey said.

When a new high-tech OTB branch was set up in the Wakefield section of the Bronx, the number of wages placed more than doubled, he said.

"Gaming is changing," Mr. Casey said. "It's much more competitive. We no longer have a monopoly ... but we absolutely can get people to know how exciting horse racing is again."
It's almost is like he's reading from a script written by Karl O'Farrell. And it sounds great, except for one problem. OTB's in New York compete with the tracks, and if they cannibalized so much business with the miserable parlors they've had for the last 30 years - "not a look I'm particularly proud of," according to Casey - it would take quite an effort to get people to migrate from a comfortable setting in midtown Manhattan to a long ride on the A train to Aqueduct. That of course, is if the current structure remains in place, and we've heard not one peep; not a single indication whatsoever that there is any move whatsoever to merge the OTB's into whoever the new track operator turns out to be.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

You didn't mention that the Belmont will be broadcast live on giant screen in Times idea I actually like. - Alex