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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Autotote wins OK for OTB site on Rose’s Mill Road

By James Tinley
Register Staff
MILFORD
— Overcoming an initial stumble out of the starting gate, an off-track-betting facility is set to be up and running after gaining approval from the Board of Aldermen Monday night.
The 10-5 vote to approve the 89 Rose’s Mill Road site came after the former Tommy K’s video store site on the Boston Post Road was tabled at last month’s aldermanic meeting.
The landlord of the 321 Boston Post Road parcel has since found another tenant, forcing Autotote Enterprises, which will operate the OTB, to find a new location.
People can wager on horse and greyhound races, as well as jai alai, at off-track gambling facilities.
The new site gained bipartisan approval Monday, after Democrats voted to table the Post Road site in a party line vote in December.
Ray Vitale, R-5, was the lone Republican to vote against the gambling parlor Monday night.
“When it comes to budget time, the $65,000 … will weigh heavy on me,” said Alderman Nick Nick Veccharelli Jr., D-3. “Any way we can, we need to bring tax relief to this community.”
While Democrats and Republicans alike said the new site was not much different from the Post Road site, they voted to approve the new gambling parlor after studying OTB sites in other communities.
OTB will occupy the former Saber Electric building on Rose’s Mill Road. Autotote Enterprises will have to make about $100,000 in renovations to create more interior space and more parking, said Mayor James L. Richetelli Jr.
While the location wasn’t perfect for Autotote Enterprises, it was better received by aldermen.
Democrats said they voted to table the first site because it abutted a residential neighborhood and a day care facility, and they wanted more time to listen to area residents and businesses. They also wanted to look into possible safety and traffic concerns that an OTB might bring.
But Republicans said the vote to table the OTB facility amounted to walking away from $65,000 and the OTB did not bring safety issues with it.
In the last full year of operation at OTB’s former site on Old Gate Lane, the OTB brought in $65,000 to the city.
The city gets a “handle,” which is 1.6 percent of all bets placed at the OTB.
There were only 14 calls to the Police Department in the five years OTB was at the Old Gate Lane location, none of which was serious and most had to do with lockouts and traffic violations, police said.
Autotote Enterprises owns 10 other off-track betting facilities in Connecticut, including Sports Haven in New Haven and an OTB facility in East Haven.
By state law, any off-track gambling facility must be approved by the local municipality before gaining approval of the state Division of Special Revenue.
James Tinley can be reached at jtinley@nhregister.com or 876-3030.

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