County sees downward trend in off-track betting

CHENANGO – The financial stability of off-track betting in Chenango County is following suit of a downward trend that’s taking place across the state.

According to Chenango County Treasurer William Craine, the county has seen a consistant drop in off-track betting (OTB) revenue for several years. Budgeted for approximately $30,000 this year, the county’s 2016 budget may look to drop OTB revenue to just $20,000.

Throughout the state, OTB revenue is far below what it was when first being legalized by referendum in the 1970s.

“This is not a new trend,” said Craine, noting that the local share of OTB revenue has been declining for nearly three decades. “This year, we’ll be lucky to receive $25,000. But we’re always glad to get anything for revenue that isn’t raised through property taxes.”

Despite revenue lost in OTB, the county is making good on another revenue source: casino gambling. Ever since New York voters overwhelmingly favored to amend the state constitution to allow authorization for up to seven class three casinos in the state in 2013, the county has reaped the benefits, said Craine. This year alone is likely to bring between $265,000 and $270,000 in revenue to the county, although long-term trends are still uncertain.

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