Don’t Bet Yet on OTB Coming to Danbury — Here’s What You Need to Know
With all the controversy surrounding Danbury's proposed Off-Track Betting Parlor, residents are a bit confused and concerned about exactly what's going on and how it will effect the city.
Since the new proposed OTB gambling facility was approved by the Danbury Zoning Commission back in May, area residents and local downtown business owners have been split over the Parlor actually becoming a reality.
I spoke with Danbury Common Council President Joe Cavo about the likelihood of OTB actually happening in Danbury, and here's what you need to know:
Back in the 90s, the state of Connecticut was contracted for 18 OTB licenses throughout the state. There were certain criteria that had to be upheld, including that the facility could not be a stand alone operation, it had to be connected to another business.
The vendor (Sportech) choose the location they wanted in Danbury and felt that Two Steps Downtown Grill, given its proximity in the city, would be the best spot for the facility.
Once active, it would be a pari-mutuel betting area for horse racing, greyhound racing and jai-alai, and would be located on the second floor of Two Steps.
A $750,000 renovation would have to be done to Two Steps to make it work, and adhere to all codes set forth by the state and Sportech. According to Joe Cavo:
The state would get a small percentage of the profits and city would get a small percentage of the betting profits.
As far as where it stands at this moment, Joe told me:
The Common Council is still waiting for the contract to start the hearing process for the location. Then the entire proposal would be put before the Common Council and the public for a hearing.
So is this actually something we would see happening in the foreseeable future? Joe felt it would take a little time before OTB could actually become a reality if it were to be approved:
If everything went through the Common Council and Public hearings and passed, then the contractor would be brought in to renovate Two Steps and start the process which could take anywhere from 6 months to a year from final approval. A no vote of course would force Sportech to look for another location either in Danbury or a different surrounding town, but a yes vote would basically mean place your bets.