Not only is NYC OTB not shutting down, they are staying open for at least another year, setting forth on The Path Forward, as articulated in a press release...or, should I say, a "reference guide" released by its public relations outfit on Saturday. Under this Path, OTB will shut 2/3rds of its parlors, install betting terminals in bars, sell of much of its contentious fleet of vehicles, and "implement deep cuts in management." Whatsmore, whaddya know, forget about that cut in its statutory payments; instead it will "defer" payments based on its handle from out-of-state simulcasts.
“I can’t quantify at this point the amount of pain that we’ll be inflicting on the [racing] industry,” Frucher said. “There will be pain. You can’t pay what you don’t have.” [Thoroughbred Times]OK, so they'll be some pain. Buit all of this will be accomplished with just a minor tweak from the dysfunctional state legislature.
NYC OTB’s Path Forward only requires one piece of immediate, interim legislation which is necessary to protect our hard-working employees. This legislation is needed to authorize early retirement incentives for NYC OTB employees, at no cost to the State or taxpayer, to facilitate headcount reduction while converting to a technology-based model.But wait, I don't understand. How do you go, seemingly overnight, from 'Ohmygod, we're broke, we're desperate, we have to close, we need to cut our mandated payments otherwise 1300 people will lose their jobs, NYRA will be doomed, harness tracks will be devastated" to basically submitting to most of the long-stated demands and continuing on as if nothing happened? It's like a big nevermind. So what, that was all bullshit to try and save high-paying political patronage jobs and squeeze the horsemen and racetracks out of some dough? Or a big PR stunt?
"They cried poverty one week and the next week they say they can keep their doors open for another year?" said Austin Shafran, spokesman for the state Senate's Democratic majority. "This demonstrates an overwhelming need for an honest and clear accounting of OTB's finances and operations before any taxpayer dollars spent." [Associated Press]Perhaps the Inspector General should have a look at this farce once he's done with the AEG fiasco.