After Going Public, OTG Has Its Eye on Bringing Gambling to New York Airports

Skift Take

OTG Management has been hitting Albany hard over the past five years. The company wants a piece of the new terminal set for LaGuardia, and the ability to ferry the gambling cash cow into New York airports.

— Andrew Sheivachman

As airline concessions upstart OTG Management files an IPO and continues to expand its operations into more U.S. airports, it’s also looking to generate more revenue by bringing gambling to its existing outposts.

The company has been spending on lobbying efforts and political contributions in New York, ostensibly to increase its chances of getting a piece of a new terminal slated for LaGuardia airport. But a look at the company’s S1 filing shows its also interested in receiving an airport gaming concession from the Cuomo administration and state lawmakers.

“We are currently developing a variety of games, such as casino style games, electronic lottery, monetized social gaming and games of skill,” reads OTG’s S1 filing. “Our exclusive gaming programs will allow us to offer sweepstakes and games of skill and award prizes to our customers ranging from free food and beverages, to flight upgrades and miles awards, to vacation packages. We believe additional future revenues will be generated by increased sales of products and services associated with game play, in-application purchases and in-application advertising.”

OTG spent $90,000 last year to lobby New York state’s legislative and executive branches, retaining Albany lobbying firm Brown & Weinraub, according to public records. The lobbying has taken place in the areas of liquor regulation, airport hospitality, and racing and gaming.

In prior years, it also spent regularly on lobbying, with a total spend closing in on $300,000 since 2010. OTG and its CEO Rick Blatstein contributed heavily to Cuomo’s 2014 campaign, as well.

OTG has also been hiring Cuomo confidants to strengthen its ties with the administration. Former Cuomo director of state operations Howard Glaser briefly joined the company in 2014, while top Cuomo aide Larry Schwartz joined in 2015.

The company, which has more than 220 locations in 23 terminals at 10 airports, is one of the pioneers of using iPads to draw flyers into its ecosystem. It’s already developing gaming software to further entice users into spending.

They also want to be able to track flyers across the country, serving up customized content and deals.

“To the extent we offer gaming content in the future, we will be subject to state and local regulatory regimes regarding gambling, sweepstakes, lotteries and games of skill,” states the document. “… We are continuously looking to develop additional revenue-generating entertainment content for our customers.”

An OTG spokesman did not respond to Skift’s request for comment on the addition of gambling to the company’s products.

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