Skip to content

Down the backstretch: Off-track betting is on last legs

Click thumbnail for high-resolution image

PICT0022.JPG

Kevin Keliher ponders a bet with his friends at the Harlem off-track betting parlor in New York City. (Photo by Lawrence Delevingne)

PICT0028.JPG

Men watch horse racing at the Harlem off-track betting parlor in New York City. (Photo by Lawrence Delevingne)

PICT0029.JPG

Charles Clark fills out a betting card at the Harlem off-track betting parlor in New York City. (Photo by Lawrence Delevingne)

PICT0004.JPG

A man naps as others relax at the Harlem off-track betting parlor in New York City. (Photo by Lawrence Delevingne)

Click for text-only story

Wagering on horse racing hasn't been like in "Guys and Dolls" for years. But off-track betting, which has survived, is now feeling the pinch more than ever as interest in the sport declines. A few states that offer betting opportunities away from the track have tried to halt the slide, adding slot machines and beautifying parlors with limited success. New York City, which has one of the largest "OTB" operations in the country, is having so much trouble that it is set to close the parlors in June, angering longtime patrons and employees who don't want to lose their informal community centers, however seedy.


back