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Thursday, January 31, 2008

OTB once again before the Aldermen

By James Tinley, Register Staff
MILFORD — The owner of an off-track betting parlor is still betting on the Board of Aldermen’s approval for a new home in the city.

Mayor James L. Richetelli Jr. announced Wednesday that Autotote Enterprises has found a new site on 89 Roses Mill Road for an OTB site where people will be able to place bets on horse racing and jai alai. The site has to win approval from the Board of Aldermen, which is scheduled to vote on it Monday.

This came after Autotote Industries, which owns and operates Sports Haven in New Haven as well as 10 other sites across the state, had its proposal for a Boston Post Road site tabled by the Democratic aldermen in a 9-6 party line vote in December.

The site’s landlord found a new tenant to fill the vacancy in the strip mall after the vote.

Republicans criticized the move to table the proposal and said it amounted to walking away from $65,000.

The town that hosts an OTB site gets 1.6 percent of all the bets placed there. Autotote’s OTB in Milford, which was formerly located on Old Gate Lane, brought $65,000 into the city.

The previously proposed site in the former location of Tommy K’s video store at 321 Boston Post Road came under fire by Democratic aldermen because it abutted a residential neighborhood, as well as a day-care center.

Aldermanic Chairman Ben Blake, D-5, called the location at Rose Mill Road “new and improved,” but said Wednesday that he hasn’t had enough time to decide if the new location will gain his approval.

“In terms of the location, it’s an improvement and I credit the Board of Aldermen for forcing Autotote to come back with a better proposal and a better location,” Blake said.

Richetelli said he worked closely with Autotote to find the new site, although it “wasn’t exactly what they wanted.”

The building will have to undergo $100,000 worth of renovations to build an addition and create additional parking, Richetelli said. He said the six-year history of an OTB in Milford has been a positive one, and only 14 police calls were made to the former site in front of the old jai alai building.

None of those calls were serious and most were for routine traffic violations and people locked out of their cars.

James Tinley can be reached at or 876-3030.