The Danbury Zoning Commission has approved a zone change to allow for an off track betting facility on the 2nd floor of Two Steps. The panel decided on a vote of 6-3 that OTB can be an accessory use in a restaurant. Commissioners Haddad, James Kelly, and Angela Hylenski voted in opposition.
Only 18 OTB licenses are allowed statewide. Sportech Venues has exclusive licensing rights in Connecticut and would provide 1.6 percent of gross revenue to City Center.
The Danbury Planning Commission previously issued a positive recommendation. The specific site proposal now moves to the City Council. The state Department of Consumer Protection Gaming Division must also inspect and approve the facility before operations can begin.
Zoning Commission Chairman Rob Melillo says there were only two determining factors that they needed to consider before voting. One was whether or not this would be consistent with land use policies in the Plan of Conservation and Development. The other was whether or not this use would detrimentally impact the health, safety, and welfare of the public.
Commissioner Ted Haddad Junior was concerned that the state government would be too involved and could dictate any changes to OTB. He says Sportech has a monopoly and therefore an unfair advantage over every other restaurant in Danbury. Haddad noted that he would have the same issue with a monopoly on something besides gambling.
If the state were to decide in the future to allow Sportech or other venues to introduce slot machines, Melillo says applicants would have to apply for another text change.