Corruption in New York and the OTBs? Shocker!!


It should come as a surprise to no one with knowledge of how things work when the public’s involvement in the business of horse racing—wagering–intersects with politics; political process almost always wins while customers and rank-and-file employees lose.

The closing of Nassau Off-Track Betting shops whose employees interact with people may have more to do with protecting executive positions and union busting via digital betting terminals than any deep-rooted concern it may have in sheltering the public from the ravages of COVID-19.

The process of shutting down branches was made possible by a rewritten clause in an agreement co-signed by Nassau Off-Track Betting Chairman Joseph Cairo and Kevin McCaffery, President of Teamsters Local 707 whose union represents 132 Nassau OTB workers.

Nassau Regional Off-Track Betting has asked its employees to use accumulated sick and vacation time, work temporarily without pay or retire as the agency manages the shutdown of its betting parlors which coincides with the Coronavirus outbreak.

Conversely, Suffolk County OTB is paying its 300 employees while it seeks a loan under the new federal Payroll Protection Program designed to help businesses pay their workers during the COVID-19 outbreak, according to an agency spokesman.

It is currently estimated that Suffolk OTB’s annual payroll is $16.6 million, while Nassau OTB has an annual payroll of $6.98 million.

More about the closing of Nassau (NY) OTBs

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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