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After warning they would have to shutter operations by the end of business Sunday, the financially struggling NYC Off-Track Betting Corp. announced Saturday it came up with a plan to continue running for at least the next year.
In order to stay in business, NYC OTB Chairman Meyer “Sandy” Frucher said the corporation would cut its betting locations by two-thirds.
He did not say whether those cuts would affect any of the 19 OTB locations in Queens.
A NYC OTB spokesman said the corporation would start closing some of the branches in the summer and continue to do so for a year after that.
NYC OTB filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection from creditors Dec. 3. The filing showed the corporation had assets between $10 million and $50 million and liabilities between $100 million and $500 million.
The New York Racing Association, which conducts operations at Aqueduct Race Track, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course, is NYC OTB’s second-largest unsecured creditor.
NYC OTB said it owes NYRA more than $14.6 million as of the date of the bankruptcy filing. NYRA earlier said it might be forced to cancel the Belmont Stakes in part due to its not being paid by NYC OTB.
NYC OTB’s plan to continue operating includes cuts to its vehicle fleet and management.
“We believe we can maintain operations for the benefit of our customers, our industry and employees for an interim period of up to one year, to allow a more permanent resolution of OTB’s and the industry’s woes,” Frucher said. “While we are fixing our operations, we will engage with the creditors committee in our Chapter 9 case to come to a resolution as a united industry, which we hope we will then be able to present to Albany together.”
NYC OTB also plans to install so-called Internet Access Terminals, self-service kiosk that allows customers to place bets, in sports bars throughout the city.
The locations of the kiosks are subject to the approval of the NYC OTB Site Selection Board and the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, the corporation said.
The spokesman said it remains unclear where the kiosks will be opening up.
“We have solicited interest from a number of establishments, but it’s not set in stone yet,” he said.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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