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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) Credit: Ed Betz

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.

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.