05/03/2011 11:38AM

Bill would allow Catskill OTB to operate New York City parlors


Rep. Gary Pretlow, the chairman of the New York Assembly’s Racing and Wagering Committee, has introduced a bill that would give Catskill Off-Track Betting Corporation the right to operate off-track betting parlors in the five boroughs of New York City.

The bill, filed on April 29, would amend the state’s off-track betting law to add the five New York City boroughs to Catskill’s region. Catskill OTB currently operates 24 off-track betting parlors in the 13 upstate counties that own the public-benefit corporation.

The legislation is part of a raft of recent efforts by some lawmakers to apportion off-track betting rights to county-owned off-track betting companies in the wake of the closure of New York City OTB last December. New York City OTB, which was owned by the state, had previously operated approximately 55 locations in the five boroughs, but the corporation shutdown after it failed to receive concessions from the state legislature on the amount of money it paid to the racing industry.

The legislation would require Catskill to honor the collective-bargaining agreements that New York City OTB had in place with its unionized employees at the time it shut down. It would also require Catskill to hire laid-off employees at any operations it opens.