Suffolk chief OTB LaCarrubba replaced by longtime vice-chairman Pancella in leadership reshuffle
Suffolk OTB announced on Tuesday that chairman Jim LaCarrubba and vice-chairman Anthony Pancella III had switched positions as part of a leadership reshuffle.
Pancella, a Republican from Lindenhurst who was instrumental in establishing Jake’s 58 casino in Islandia and helping OTB out of bankruptcy, has been named president and chief executive officer by OTB’s board of directors , officials said in a press release.
LaCarrubba, a former union leader and former Long Beach public works chief who was named OTB president just 13 months ago, has been named vice president and chief operating officer.
The change reflects the shift of the county legislature from Democratic to Republican control. Traditionally, the president of the OTB is drawn from the majority party in the legislature, while the vice president is drawn from the minority.
Pancella and LaCarrubba are committed to working together as OTB looks to expand on its recent string of successes, including the opening of Jake’s 58, a virtual ticket-printing machine since its debut in 2017.
“Together I think we can achieve the vision we had here,” Pancella, 61, told Newsday. “Everything went according to the plan we put in place years ago.”
The change comes two years after OTB escaped bankruptcy and a year after the agency bought Jake’s 58, including its 227-room hotel, for $120 million from entertainment conglomerate Buffalo Delaware North.
Matthew Cohen, president and CEO of the Long Island Association, the region’s leading business group, said Pancella and LaCarrubba “are a team and together they’ve helped make Jake’s 58 and OTB a force.” major economy on Long Island. expect that even though the tables have turned, they will continue to be a great team and they will continue to take Jake’s 58 to even greater heights.”
Last month, Jake’s 58 brought in $334,150,187 in wagers, according to the State Gaming Commission website.
In a statement, LaCarrubba said he and Pancella “continue our work together as we seek to build on this track record of success.”
In a brief interview, Pancella discussed OTB’s future plans, including:
- Ask the State Legislature to approve the expansion of Jake’s 58 from 1,000 video lottery terminals to 2,000 machines;
- Long term plans to move from video terminals to live gaming tables;
- Selling a 32-acre parcel of Medford that had been considered for a casino before Jake opened.
Pancella said doubling the number of machines at Jake would bring in an additional $120 million to $150 million a year. In addition to generating revenue for Suffolk County, OTB donates proceeds from the casino to the horse racing industry and the state’s public education fund.
Despite Jake’s success, Suffolk OTB responded to a state initiative seeking parties interested in casino licensing in the downstate, Pancella said. Switching to table games would allow Suffolk OTB to retain more of its profits as the agency would own the tables, he said, adding that OTB leases video terminals from the state.
“It just brings us a new element, and our numbers are so strong that it’s something we can do and generate more money for Suffolk,” he said.
Newsday reported last week that the Shinnecock Nation in Southampton was one of more than two dozen entities that have applied for one of three downstate casino licenses expected to be awarded over the next few years. .
Pancella said OTB was under contract to sell the Medford site on the south Long Island Freeway service road to a private company he declined to name. OTB had bought the site in 2014 for around $10.95 million with the intention of building a casino there.
OTB withdrew this proposal in 2016 when it announced its intention to open the casino in Islandia.
Pancella said initial reaction to the potential sale of Medford civic leaders has been favourable. He did not disclose the selling price of the property.
A Brookhaven spokesperson said the city was unaware of the planned sale and declined to comment.
Medford Taxpayers and Civic Association president Brett Houdek said the site buyer is proposing a last-mile distribution center. He said he didn’t know the buyer’s name.
“We told them [Suffolk OTB] we would be more than happy to support such a project,” Houdek told Newsday. “