Off-track betting

Off-track betting

Off-track betting (or OTB; in British English, off-course betting) refers to sanctioned gambling on horse racing outside a race track.


US history

Before the 1970s, only the state of Nevada allowed for off-track betting.[1] It became allowed in New York City in 1970, after years of unsuccessful attempts by the city to legalize it.[2] Their success was such that by the 1970s there were a hundred betting parlors in New York City,[1] and twice that number by the late 1980s.[2] In New York City, the thought was that legal off-track betting would increase revenue while at the same time decreasing illegal gambling activity, but one effect of the legalization was the decrease of revenue at the race tracks. The 1978 Interstate Horseracing Act[3] struck a compromise between the interests of horse tracks and owners, the state, and OTB parlors, and stipulated that OTB revenues were to be distributed among the tracks, the horse owners, and the state. Another stipulation was that no OTB parlor was allowed to operate within 60 miles of a track.[1]

Revenues at the track indeed lessened, but rather than fight off-track betting the industry sought to increase its income via new ways of gambling, betting on the OTB potential, and came up with "exotic wagers" such as exacta and trifecta. Thus the industry's revenue increased even as the number of spectators at the track went down.[4]

At legal off-track betting parlors, if bettors win, they have to pay the parlor a surcharge taken directly from the winnings. Bettors in New York can avoid paying the surcharges by placing their bets via an off-track betting corporation's account wagering service or at so-called super branches or teletheatres that charge a daily admission fee. Other jurisdictions such as Pennsylvania do not levy a surcharge on winnings. Most booked bets are now placed with licensed services in the Caribbean and Central America who entice bettors by offering them rebates on their bets.[citation needed]

In December 2010, the NYC OTB closed due to lack of profitability

See also

  • Totalisator


  1. ^ a b c Thompson, William Norman (2001). Gambling in America: an encyclopedia of history, issues, and society. ABC-CLIO. pp. 199. ISBN 9781576071595. 
  2. ^ a b Munting, Roger (1996). An economic and social history of gambling in Britain and the USA. Manchester UP. pp. 125. ISBN 9780719044496. 
  3. ^ "Title 15, Chapter 57: Interstate Horseracing". Cornell University Law School. Retrieved 7 March 2010. 
  4. ^ Reeves, Richard Stone; Edward L. Bowen (2005). Belmont Park: A Century of Champions. Eclipse Press. pp. 19. ISBN 9781581501223. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • off-track betting — (OTB) Wagering at legalized betting outlets …   Equestrian sports dictionary

  • off-track — «AWF TRAK, OF », adjective. 1. that is conducted away from the race track: »off track betting on horse races. 2. off the beaten track; out of the way. 3. that is not a usual function of railroading: »Southern Pacific…has never had an eye for off… …   Useful english dictionary

  • off-track — ☆ off track [ôf′trak′ ] adj. designating or of legalized betting on horse races, carried on at places away from the racetrack * * * off track (ôfʹtrăk , ŏfʹ ) adj. Of or relating to gambling on races that is conducted away from a racetrack. * * * …   Universalium

  • off-track — ☆ off track [ôf′trak′ ] adj. designating or of legalized betting on horse races, carried on at places away from the racetrack …   English World dictionary

  • off-trackbetting — off track betting n. Abbr. OTB A system of placing bets away from a racetrack. * * * …   Universalium

  • betting shop — noun a licensed bookmaker s shop that is not at the race track • Regions: ↑United Kingdom, ↑UK, ↑U.K., ↑Britain, ↑United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, ↑Great Britain • Hypernyms: ↑shop …   Useful english dictionary

  • off-course — «AWF KAWRS, OF ; KOHRS», adjective. 1. off track: »If off course betting does come, it will do racing no good (New Yorker). 2. not on the right course; deviating: »a slightly off course landing of a rocket …   Useful english dictionary

  • betting — n. off track; parimutuel betting * * * [ betɪn] parimutuel betting off track …   Combinatory dictionary

  • betting shop — Brit. a licensed bookmaking establishment that takes off track bets on horse races. [1850 55] * * * …   Universalium

  • Betting in poker — Poker positions at a 10 handed table. This article is about the common terms, rules, and procedures of betting in poker only. For the strategic impact of betting, see poker strategy. In the game of poker, the play largely centers on the act of… …   Wikipedia

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