How do you use the OTB?
April 19, 2006 9:31 AM   Subscribe

Help me use the Off Track Betting facility.

I work across the street from an NY OTB establishment. I like betting horses casually at the track, and I've used the OTB in big races (like the derby). I'd like to pop in there at lunch, fill out a few forms and see if I can make a few bucks.

Ideally, I'd just like to fill out the forms based on the numbers and collect within ten or fifteen minutes. But the multitude of races, tracks, and betting options befuddle me. Are there constantly races going on? Can someone give me step by step directions on how to do this, from finding the races on the screen (or booklet or whatever) to filling out the form. I'm guessing it's probably a lot easier than it looks, but they certainly don't make it very clear.

Also, if you've got any strategies that don't require actually following racing and horses closely, I'd like those too. I have a goal to make my lunch money two days of the week.
posted by miniape to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (3 answers total)
Umm... if it was that easy, then everyone would be flocking towards OTB's and tracks all the time. Part of allure of OTB is that you can bet on any races that are happening at that time at any number of racetracks around the country.

During open hours, you could reasonably expect that there would be races happening at some track that the particular establishment is allowed to bet on (they usually have particular venues that send them the books, post times, track updates, cancellations etc.).

They also don't make it clear because their primary objective is to make money. You have n number of races happening each day/hour/minute and coordinating the post with the betting facilities is an enormous undertaking. Without following the races, horses, track conditions, trainers, owners etc. you will not make money, you are certain to lose.

Have you ever wondered why people stay in these places all day long, for weeks and years on end? They're trying to find the same system that you described and they're hooked. The whole thing was setup (as a casino is) to make it appear that winning is easy, but it's not.
posted by purephase at 9:50 AM on April 19, 2006

You can bet on an amazing variety of races around the world on - better odds than the OTB, more options, and you can do it from wherever you like.
posted by loquax at 10:07 AM on April 19, 2006

If there's too many tracks to follow, you could just focus on a subset of them. Kentucky tracks divide meets so there's always racing going on somewhere, though probably not all of them are available nationally through OTB. You can read Jennie Rees' archived columns; she's the horse racing columnist for the Louisville Courier-Journal. Of course, if you don't have any Kentucky tracks at your OTB then ignore this advice.
posted by komilnefopa at 12:55 PM on April 19, 2006

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