City OTB Customers Place Their Final Bets
The end of the city's Off-Track-Betting means more than a thousand employees will be out of work, and countless gamblers will have to find somewhere else to place a bet. NY1's Michael Scotto filed the following report.
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Margie Barrett has been working for the city's Off-Track-Betting corporation for 15 years. But at 12 a.m. Wednesday, she'll be out of a job.
"It's the worst time for anyone to be laid off. What is it, two weeks before Christmas?" Barrett said.
Margie isn't alone. More than a thousand employees will be losing their jobs after the State Senate failed to pass a restructuring plan Tuesday. The bad news also extends to the gamblers who treated off-track betting parlors like a second home.
"I've been having this as a hobby. All my friends are here every single day, seven days a week. We eat lunch here everyday," said one OTB patron.
The closure of the city's OTB ends, for better or worse, an era that began nearly 40 years ago.
Inside one location in Midtown on Tuesday, the races played on monitors and gamblers placed some of their final bets. Many of the patrons have been coming for decades, often gambling away lots of money each week.
One gambler says he'll finally try saving his money, now that placing a bet won't be nearly as easy.
"I'm gonna find a different hobby instead of gambling. Gambling is a dirty hobby," said one OTB patron.
OTB has been on the brink of closure before. Employees say it will take a lot for the bookie operation to say open this time, possibly a Christmas miracle. But at the moment, that seems unlikely.