Even gambling isn’t what it used to be. The Economist reported last month that New York City’s Off-Track Betting is losing $600,000 a month.
Since 1970, when the city and state went into the gambling business to take it away from organized crime, OTb has netted the governments $.5 billion. Now, however, “betting on horse racing has become stagnant and is a rapidly shrinknig segment of the overall gambling market.” Still, the article points out, the OTB takes in $1 billion in bets durnig a year.
(I can’t help but wonder, since the article also points to 500 horse farms in NY and 40,000 employed in the industry, if someone somewhere should decide horse racing is too big to fail and shovel some bail-out money towards it)
As I drove home from Kansas City last weekend we passed by several casinos. There was lack of cars in any of their parking lots. Gambling appears to be alive and well.
But, then, look again. While the piece says that interest in horse racing has “shriveled up,” the statistic of $1 billion in bets in the OTB last year remains. where betting on horse racing is losing is as a percentage of the overall gambling pie.
I am not loudly opposed to gambling as leisure, but I cannot help but wonder if the leisure of it is quickly lost on too many people. If $1 billion a year, just in New York City, represents a “shriveled -up” portion of the industry, something is out of control.
What can be done about it?