- In reading this long article on The Journal News' LoHud.com site about crime statistics at the Yonkers racino and a not particularly scintillating controversy over the reporting of such, I was astounded to read:
An average of 22,780 people visit the raceway daily, according to the New York Lottery.Don't think I've ever seen attendance figures for any of the racinos before (Saratoga's average was reported to be 5,838), and maybe I shouldn't be so surprised. After all, they're open all day and most of the night long, and it's not like you can play them from home. But still, as a fan of a gambling endeavor which, in New York City, can't even draw enough people to make collecting admission worthwhile at Aqueduct, seeing those numbers is rather humbling; especially for what is, to me and I'm sure to many of you, a comparatively vapid, depressing, and bordering-on-morbid pursuit.
I also recall the time when 22,780 really did come to Yonkers to do nothing but bet on the horses. I was checking out a little Yonkers history, and came upon the fact that On December 15, 1969, Yonkers racetrack achieved its highest ever single-night handle -- $3,220,686. No OTB then, so this was all on-track handle. I don't imagine they handle nearly that much on track in an entire month of racing these days.
Still, I at least do get a little encouragement from the mere fact that so many people would actually put forth such an effort as to make their way to Yonkers to gamble in any fashion. Just can't help but believe that, with some nice facilities and extra amenities, and with at least some weekday racing at night, horse racing could fare at least modestly better as a live sport than it does now.
As far as the crime stats go, the bulk of the 145 arrests reported in 2007 concerned expected matters such as disorderly conduct, trespassing, and petty larceny. However, there was one arrest each for criminal impersonation, domestic dispute, obscenities, person exposing self, sex offense, and - my favorite - gambling. I hope they threw the book at that guy!