(From the Richmond Times-Dispatch Richmond Times-Dispatch)
The Virginia Equine Alliance is planning to bring off-track betting back to the Richmond area soon.
The Alliance, a consortium of horse racing and breeding groups, won approval in June from the Virginia Racing Commission to open a satellite wagering facility at Breakers Sports Grille at 9127 W. Broad St. in Henrico County.
The alliance said this week that it also has reached an agreement with the owner of the former Tiki Bob’s at 110 North 18th St. in downtown Richmond to open an off-track betting, or OTB, site as part of a planned brewpub at that location, tentatively to be named Pints and Ponies.
The alliance is planning to seek approval for the second OTB site at the Virginia Racing Commission’s scheduled Sept. 27 meeting.
Renovation work is being done at the Breaker’s Sports Grille to equip it for wagering and television feeds from tracks in several different states. The goal is to open the OTB parlor there in October.
The two OTB facilities would be the first to open in the state since Colonial Downs closed its track in New Kent and six off-site betting parlors in 2014.
The Virginia Equine Alliance will operate the new sites, which could produce $5 million or more per year in gross revenue and help revive the industry, said Debbie Easter, president of the alliance. “We are starting from ground zero and trying to build it back,” Easter said. “It takes a little time to do that.”
No opening date has been set for the downtown location. Easter said the Equine Alliance also wants to open other OTB facilities in the state.
“What we are eager to see happen is to add revenue sources, and the OTBs are going to be very welcome in that regard,” said D.G. Van Clief Jr., chairman of the Virginia Racing Commission.