I'm reading about this bankruptcy deal for New York City OTB....
The move will allow OTB officials to sharply reduce staffing at the money-losing bookmaker and break at least some of the leases now in place for the operation of underused OTB parlors, according to the sources.....and I'm thinking.....that's all it took to finally bring about the kind of changes, as painful as those affecting employment may be, that we've all known for years are long overdue (and which OTB officials fought tooth and nail in Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's recent report)? Just a little bankruptcy filing? Why didn't someone think of this sooner?
The bankruptcy will also permit OTB to break its existing contract with District Council 37, the large public employees union, and begin using state-of-the-art remote and automated betting systems that require little, if any, supervision. [NY Post]
Bloomberg reports that this will be a Chapter 9 filing for Municipal Bankruptcy.
The filing, the first involving a New York State-run gambling operation, won’t halt operations. It will include the planned sale of $250 million of bonds to repay some accumulated debts and allow spending on new technology, said Meyer Frucher, whom Paterson appointed to develop a rescue plan.Hmmmm.....porn or the 8th at Flemington.... I know which one Handride would pick.
With updated technology, “We could go head to head with pornography and win,” Frucher said, referring to possibilities such as an around-the-clock horse-racing channel or virtual racing. [Bloomberg]
Frucher used the strategy of investing in new technology as CEO of a struggling Philadelphia Stock Exchange around the turn of the century, and ended up selling the exchange to NASDAQ for over $650 million in 2007. So he does have some experience with this sort of situation. He also seems to get it. When's the last time you heard an OTB chairman say things like: "Other states have them working together....Here we have a system that competes with itself. It was bad from the start." [Thoroughbred Times]
"There is no reason, candidly, to have seven totes, more than seven totes. Every track has its own tote. Every OTB has its own...it’s done seven times and it has to be done identical."One thing that I think you can bet will be going is that fleet of cars which was a subject of DiNapoli's report. The New York Times reports today that the costs of maintaining that fleet has cost OTB far more than just the gasoline.
"It really comes down to a bit of redundancy. I mean, how many presidents of OTBs do you want to pay for?" [Daily Politics]
Part of OTB’s payroll reads more Nascar than Triple Crown. It has employed three automotive mechanics, seven drivers and a motor vehicle supervisor, who, combined, earned $500,000 a year. In addition to those salaries, the state comptroller found that gas, insurance and outside repairs cost $585,000 a year.
Though much of its fleet has aged, OTB bought four new Ford Explorers in 2007. One went to its in-house lobbyist. That came as OTB hired Park Strategies, a lobbying firm founded by former Senator Alfonse M. D’Amato, under a no-bid contract for $12,000 a month, a move also criticized by the comptroller. [New York Times]