Laid-off OTB workers are slated to march on the district offices of Senators Andrew Lanza of Staten Island and Marty Golden of Brooklyn this afternoon after both Republicans voted against the rescue package that would have save New York City’s Off-Track Betting operation.
“Our people saw first-hand how heartless some elected officials can be,” said Lillian Roberts, president of DC37, which is organizing the march. “To vote on Tuesday to shut down OTB at midnight – just on the eve of what is supposed to be a joyous holiday season – was cruel. This is the most heartless act I’ve witnessed. We won’t forget it.”
Senator Golden has proposed privatizing the OTB and putting racing kiosks in sports bars around the state, and would not vote for a measure that did not move towards that.
“Nobody has the stomach to do public-private partnership. If we don’t have the conversation it’s never going to happen.”
Golden blamed Democrats for rushing the OTB bailout bill to the floor last night, and said that OTB will never be solvent unless it is privatized. He also said that there was no reason for the betting centers to close since their bankruptcy hearing is not scheduled until Dec. 28.
Meanwhile, NY1 reports that the New York Racing Association is pushing Internet betting as a way to salvage revenue lost from the OTB closures.
He added that he understood the anger of the laid-off workers.
“They are upset. I would be too. Making those decisions last night was painful.”