Showing that Albany really can get things done quickly if they want to (and if facing an immediate interruption of revenue flow), the OTB bill is already signed, sealed, delivered it's yours, courtesy of Albany Law School's Bennett Liebman, and thanks as always to Mr. Liebman for the info. The contentious takeout clause is right there on page one with the new rates, increased by one percent, in capital letters. If someone can find the part about these rates sunsetting in two years, please point it out to us.
Tom Precious reported on Bloodhorse.com that there is also a one percent increase on all bets made in New York state on out-of-state tracks. While I haven't yet applied the fine tooth comb to the document, I'm not seeing that either, and I really hope that's not the case. That would smack more of a surcharge than takeout; nor does it really make much sense, as it would most certainly drive horseplayers to open accounts with out of state ADW's.
Matt Hegarty reports in the Form that Governor Paterson has instructed Senator John Sabini to take a "whole-cloth look" at offtrack betting operations over the next several months.
Sabini cautioned that overhauling OTB would be difficult politically based on the entrenched positions of the corporations and their historical resistance to change.[Update: Ben Liebman writes in to point out that the sunset provision is in the final section of the bill (which is actually still awaiting the formal signature of the governor). In addition, there are indeed provisions to increase the takeout on bets placed on out of state tracks by one percent; those are in sections 22-24. Again, it seems to me that this is little more than a variation of the surcharge on winnings on bets placed at OTB parlors; and that it will encourage bettors to seek other available wagering outlets (as well as to encourage those outlets to seek out aggrieved NY bettors). Mr. Liebman suggests that, based on 2006 figures, the takeout increase "would serve as a $21 million hit on NYS bettors since it would be a takeout increase on more than 80% of the bets made in NY." More information to follow..]
"You can't go into it and assume you are going to achieve a total state takeover without goring a few oxes," Sabini said. [DRF]