All of the off-track betting corporations in New York confirmed Friday they will not take the signal from Keeneland effective Friday, the Lexington track's opening day. The decision is tied to a reduction in takeout at Keeneland, the impact it could have on the bottom line of outlets that take the signal.
One OTB official said the matter had been brewing all week. The OTB corporations held a conference call Friday morning and decided they would boycott Keeneland.
"It just didn't make economic sense to continue," said Jim Ryan, a lobbyist for the state's OTB facilities on Long Island and in upstate New York. "Everyone recognizes that Keeneland is prestigious and is offered for a short period of time, but part of our obligation is to be able to generate revenue for local government in addition to providing reasonable betting opportunities for our patrons."
Ryan said the parlors are moving to replace Keeneland's signal with Arlington's signal. "We would like to be able to offer Keeneland's races, but we have multiple responsibilities," Ryan said. It didn't seem possible to offer Keeneland and meet our responsibility to local governments."