The Rise and Demise of Off-Track Betting
FINISH LINE: THE RISE AND DEMISE OF OFF-TRACK BETTING
Directed by Joseph Fusco
Photographed by Matthew Flannery
Produced by Joseph Fusco and Matthew Flannery
Music by Stephen Cullo
© 2016 Finish Line Documentary, LLC
Watch our segment on MetroFocus - May 6, 2016
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WORKERS UNITE FILM FESTIVAL
“Finish Line: The Rise and Demise of Off-Track Betting” is the first documentary film detailing the untold story of New York Cityʼs first legal bookie, OTB.
For nearly 40 years Off-Track Betting was New York City's only legal place to gamble, but when mismanagement and government corruption shut OTB down, the consequences for the city, the workers, and the horse racing industry were devastating.
The film investigates how Off-Track Betting being originally formed as a city agency as a way to fund essential services, actually served the community in ways beyond its original mission. OTB parlors became social centers for many retirees and displaced people.
The film also details the political backstabbing and epic mismanagement that lead to the institutionʼs demise and the economic and political fallout.
Finally we are introduced to the human impact on OTBʼs workers and customers. Its closure represents another example of the war on the middle class, the destruction of unions, and the death of the American dream.
Using interviews with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, newspaper icon Jimmy Breslin, and celebrated author Luc Sante, as well as former OTB employees and customers, the film tells the story of what happens to people when a billion dollar bookie goes bankrupt.