Off-track betting returning to Shockoe Bottom

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — More than a year after the old Tiki Bob’s closed in Shockoe Bottom, 8News has learned of an agreement to make the former bar on 18th Street an off-track betting site. This will be the second Off-track betting in the state.

In June, 8News was first to tell you about plans for a satellite wagering site at Breakers Sports Grille in Henrico.

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Jeb Hannum, the Executive Director for the Virginia Equine Alliance talked to 8News.

“We wanted to have another location in the center of the City. It is a large facility, it has it’s own parking lot,” Hannum said.

Horse racing in Virginia came to a halt last year when Colonial Downs closed its New Kent racetrack and shuttered all off-track betting parlors in a dispute with the Horseman’s Association. While you still won’t be able to watch a live thoroughbred race in Virginia, for fans, this is the next best thing.

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Joe Cornetta, a horse racing fan, spoke with 8News.

“I am really looking forward to this. I have a nice secure place I can sit and drink,” Cornetta said.

“We wanted to have another location in the center of the City. It is a large facility, it has it’s own parking lot,” Hannum said.

The OTB here will even have a private room for serious gamblers.

“The rest of the facility will be branded for racing with televisions throughout for the more casual sports fan that we hope to get engaged in horse racing,” Hannum said.

Tad Berman, a horse racing enthusiast and project partner for the OTB in Richmond was instrumental in getting the deal at the Tiki Bob location.

“This is going to be a stand alone OTB that is built specifically for the fans in mind,” Berman said.

He adds there’s a hope the Shockoe Bottom location will draw young people to the sport.

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“There is approximately $100 million worth of renovations that are going to be occurring in Shockoe Bottom and with us being close to those renovations, that’s going to create a lot of traffic,” Berman said.

80% of every dollar wagered goes to winning bets. 20% goes to the breeders and the purse fund, a fund that could help bring live racing back to the Commonwealth.

“That’s our ultimate goal – to bring live racing back – but we have to take it one step at a time,” Berman said.

“I am really looking forward to this. I have a nice secure place I can sit and drink,” Cornetta said.

The plan is to open the Breakers OTB October 17th, then get the Bottom OTB open by the end of October, just in time for the big Breeder’s Cup Race in November 4th and 5th.

The Virginia Equine Alliance is also looking at three or four other possible OTB sites in Richmond as well as one in Martinsville and Hampton.

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