Sketchy gambling parlors will be making their Big Apple comeback if an influential Democratic lawmaker gets his way.
Mount Vernon Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, who chairs the Racing and Wagering Committee, said he wants to bring back the city’s scandal-scarred Off Track Betting Corp. as part of any deal to legalize sports betting following Monday’s US Supreme Court ruling.
“We need the OTBs and racinos to offer sports betting. Someone from Brooklyn is not going to travel to go to Monticello to bet on the Yankees,” Pretlow said Tuesday. “New York City doesn’t have OTBs. They will again.”
The state shut down the New York City OTB in 2010 after the public corporation — which operated about 50 storefront gambling dens and served as a patronage mill for crooked political hacks — went bankrupt.
Five other OTB corporations still operate across the state, allowing bettors to wager on horse races at remote tracks from 170 locations, including 50 on Long Island.
One of the shuttered city sites, in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood, is now home to the Awesome Organic Market.
Hector Rodriguez, who owns the nearby Azena Jewelry store, recalled how degenerate gamblers “were religiously there, every single day.”
“Money that should be going home, they were spending it at OTB,” said Rodriguez, 42.
“They didn’t have much, but the person that was going to OTB, they had an addiction and they needed to fill that addiction.”
In lower Manhattan, there was an OTB parlor on Park Place, less than a block from City Hall Park.
“It always smelled like urine over there,” said Heather Lipman, manager of the Tent & Trails camping store two doors away.
“The people looked sad . . . They were hoping to win the big pot and waiting for their horse to come in.”
Pretlow said he was “working on” a bill to legalize sports betting, adding: “It’ll come out shortly.”
But with the legislative session drawing to a close next month, Gov. Cuomo said Monday that he doesn’t “expect any action this year,” meaning the state will lose out on tax revenues that state Sen. John Bonacic (R-Orange County) has estimated at $10 million to $30 million a year.
By contrast, New Jersey lawmakers hope to have legislation ready for Gov. Phil Murphy’s signature by June 7, state Senate President Stephen Sweeney said Tuesday.
Sweeney said the Garden State could reap “probably $100 million” a year through taxes of 8 percent on net revenues generated by casinos and racetracks, and 12.5 percent from online bets.
Additional reporting by Sarah Trefethen, Alex Taylor and Kirstan Conley
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