Formal bidding on New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. has begun.Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announced Thursday the city is issuing a request for proposals from anyone interested in buying the nation's most lucrative OTB franchise. Bidding is not limited to the 10 companies and partnerships that expressed interest in acquiring NYCOTB last month, according to Michael Hess, general counsel for New York City and NYCOTB vice chairman.Giuliani said Thursday the request for proposals is being issued because so many industry leaders expressed interest, including Churchill Downs, Magna Entertainment, New York Racing Association with TV Games Network, Penn National Gaming, and Greenwood Racing."This is the last important step in the turn around of OTB, which was once considered the only money losing bookmaker in town," Giuliani said. "This RFP will ensure that the city finds a suitable buyer to own and operate OTB."NYCOTB generated a $1 billion handle during fiscal year 2000, which was the second time in the OTB's 30-year history its handle reached the billion dollar mark. The franchise operates 68 betting parlors, three teletheaters, and four restaurant/sports pubs. NYCOTB has plans to add eight sports restaurants in 2001. More than 1,000 full-time employees and 300 per day employees run the franchise.Any organization interested in submitting a proposal can call the New York City Economic Development Corp. at (212) 312-3939 or contact it by email at Info@newyorkbiz.com. Proposals must be submitted by 2 p.m. Nov. 10.