Letter: Don't equate OTB with casinos

Patrons stand in Suffolk OTB in Hauppauge (March Patrons stand in Suffolk OTB in Hauppauge (March 29, 2012) Photo Credit: Ed Betz

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Whether New York State becomes home to additional casinos is a matter for state officials and voters to decide ["Casinos and taxes: Here we go again," Letters, Sept. 13].

Off-track betting corporations are a different animal. As created by the State Legislature in the 1970s and detailed in state law, the mission of OTBs is quite clear: Provide revenue for the support of government, curb unlawful bookmaking and support the state's horse racing and breeding industries.

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Not one cent of taxpayer money is used to operate OTBs. On the contrary, OTBs turn over millions of dollars to local governments annually. In 2011, Suffolk OTB provided $1.5 million to the county and its taxpayers.

Lottery revenue is earmarked for education while OTB revenue benefits local government. A public discussion about casinos is well and good, but accuracy must be a central part of it.

Philip C. Nolan, Hauppauge

Editor's note: The writer is the chief executive of the Suffolk Regional Off-Track Betting Corp.

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