Off Track Betting may be gone in New York City, but not in Port Washington. , on Port Washington Boulevard, now has an automated OTB Fast Track machine, allowing pub-goers to place their bets, and have their beer and burgers too.
Though Fast Track was installed here on Sept. 27, Thursday marked the official ribbon for the betting machines and flat screen TVs, where there were about 10 people at the bar just after 5 p.m. Owner Peter Filippone expects the word to spread.
"Some people already know about the machines," said Filippone, who has owned the pub for four years. "It's working out."
Fast Track betting is part of Nassau OTB, where all the profits go to the Nassau County General fund. This year alone, the county is expected to receive at least $4 million from OTB profits.
OTB covers the investment for the machines and the extra flat screens, so that pub owners can air other program for patrons if desired. The machines are all self-service, and those betting can cash in at the bar.
Establishments see 1 percent of the betting, and it enables them to draw in traffic, especially between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., when business might otherwise be slow.
"It's an expanding program," said Noel Michaels, director of player development for Nassau OTB. He noted that the county is zoned for 18 sites like the one in Port, with new locations at Edison's in Manhasset and Barefoot Peddler in Greenvale.
Different Fast Tracks have varying degrees of success – from $5,000 to $40,000 a week. "They start small and hope to grow," Michaels said.
Lonny Keller, of Bay Terrace, learned of the program through an email he received from Nassau OTB. "So far so good," he said. "I had the triple in the fourth race at Golden Gate.
"This is the best thing that's happened in Port Washington since they issued parade permits," said D. Donald Frappaol0, another patron. "You don't have to go anywhere to collect the winnings."
Meanwhile, Keller learned that he won $67.50 from his bet. He seemed pleased.
"It's enough for a tank of gas," he said with a laugh.