The Danbury Zoning Commission met for nearly four hours Tuesday night about a zone change to allow for an off track betting facility as an accessory use to a restaurant. The panel decided to keep the public hearing open, continuing it to April 25th.
Sportech Venues, which has exclusive licensing rights in Connecticut, wants to renovate the first floor of Two Steps Downtown Bar and Grille on Ives Street into a sports bar and restaurant. OTB gaming would be added to the 2nd floor. Only 18 OTB licenses are allowed statewide. If approved, the Danbury location would be the 17th OTB site in Connecticut.
The Danbury Planning Commission has already signed off on the plan. If the Zoning Commission gives their OK, the City Council must approve the application. The state Department of Consumer Protection Gaming Division must also inspect and approve the facility before operations can begin.
A state statute sends 3.5-percent of gross revenue to the state General Fund, with the state keeping 1.9-percent. Sportech would provide 1.6-percent of gross revenue to the City. But Commissioner Candace Fay noted that the state statute providing that money back to the host community was repealed in 1993. In 1993, Sportech paid $12 million for exclusive rights, in perpetuity, to operate these types of facility. The company attorney provided citation for where that statute language was added at that time.
Plans call for adding an elevator and converting the upstairs private dining room into an exclusive wagering area. The OTB area will be limited to people 21 and over. Sportech plans to hire 8 to 10 employees. Hours of operation have not been determined.