Monday, March 28, 2011

NYC Illegal Sports Books Praise Decision to Close Off-Track -Betting

From the New York Post a lesson in ecological niche-filling:
Jubilant bookies say that business has tripled since the city's OTB parlors closed -- and that many new clients are pony players who've switched to illegal sports betting.

One Brooklyn bookmaker says the shuttering of the 54 legal betting parlors last December drove many older, hard-core gamblers to the corner oddsmaker.

"It's a big spike," said "Primo," 42, who has been taking bets for 20 years. "I do a few hundred dollars in bets in a day to a few thousand."

Most of the former OTB patrons are betting sports because almost no street bookies will take horse-racing wager

"If they can't bet on a horse, they will do basketball and hockey," said "George," 36, a Brooklyn bookie whose weekly client roster nearly doubled to 40 gamblers after the death of OTB.

The void left by OTB has radically changed the city's gaming habits. The computer-savvy raced to online horse betting, which the state legalized in 2006.

Business at the New York Racing Association's wagering Web site has nearly tripled -- from $1.8 million in bets in February 2010 to $5.1 million last month, according to NYRA, which runs Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga.

Phone betting skyrocketed 43 percent, from $3.1 million in February 2010 to $2.2 million last month.
Still, that's a small slice of the previous pony pie -- OTB handled $750 million in bets annually....MORE