Not quite. Individuals and couples and even groups who like to get out of the house occasionally and/or socialize with some of their long-time horse racing buddies also go. Or maybe people who just prefer a dedicated racing facility.
This is a fair assessment although there appears to be more regulars than the occasional. The people at OTBs are those who used to go to the track, as well as some who still do on occasion. The OTB people are horseplayers who prefer a dedicated racing facility and, for the most part, does not include racing fans who you only see at the OTB on Derby day or for the Preakness, Belmont and Breeder's Cup. Just like at the track, it is a diverse group and, at our OTB, the regulars range from your average working person to owners who are millionaires.
I love spending time with other horseplayers. We spend more time with horseplayers, primarily the same people, than we do with family members. Being at the OTB is not only social, it's also learning and sharing information. Yesterday, I shared one of my betting strategies with another seasoned horseplayer and was surprised he thought it was such a good and smart wager but never thought of it himself, and others do the same for me.
When they passed the new ADW legislation back in 2013, I was surprised the tracks wanted to add some new OTBs since the ADW handle was growing each year. In reviewing the 2013 IRB Annual Report recently, I think I found out why. The 2013 report included a pie chart of the Daily Average Illinois handle and the OTB share was a whopping 46% (ADW was 18%, On Track was 17% and Intertrack was 19%). It's on Page 8 of the report.http://www.illinois.gov/irb/Documents/AnnualReports/AR2013normal200.PDF
Because 2013 was the year of illegal ADWs and not the best to use for a comparison, I also looked at the 2012 report and the OTB share was 45%. It's a bar chart on Page 45 of the report.http://www.illinois.gov/irb/Documents/AnnualReports/2012%20Annual%20Report.PDF
Based on this information and my own personal experience, I would say the OTBs are pretty popular and profitable.