2001-03-17 / Front Page

Irish Circle Takes A Gamble! CB 14 Approves OTB Restaurant

Irish Circle Takes A Gamble!
CB 14 Approves OTB Restaurant

By John C. McLoughlin

OTB is coming to Rockaway, but it’s not the betting parlor we’re all too familiar with. Community Board 14 overwhelmingly endorsed the plan to open an Off Track Betting restaurant to be located in the Irish Circle, 101-19 Rockaway Beach Boulevard.

Jim Levy, a representative from OTB Corp., addressed CB 14 on Tuesday evening, saying "this is not an OTB parlor...it’s still the Irish Circle."

The plan calls for a booth to be placed inside the Irish Circle restaurant with an OTB employee taking bets. According to Levy, there will be televisions showing races and only people eating or drinking in the restaurant will be able to bet.

There are presently four such OTB restaurants around the city, and four more are in the planning stages. According to an OTB pamphlet, the restaurant program is described as a "unique dining experience" and provides proprietors with "that competitive edge you have been looking for."

OTB expects to be in operation at the Irish Circle by summer, with betting hours from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week.

Except for one ‘no’ vote and several abstentions, members of CB 14 endorsed this proposal. Jerome Rashkis, member of CB 14 and president of the 100th Precinct Community Council, voted ‘no’ because he’s "opposed to gambling."

"I don’t think it’s a good idea," Rashkis said. "It feeds off the poor...those who can’t afford to gamble use it."

The only concern raised by CB 14 was parking, in which the owners of the restaurant said they are looking to purchase additional property.

"We’re trying to make this a lively, happening place," said Frankie Walker, who owns the Irish Circle with Jerry Perich. "There’ll be no riffraff, no loitering...it’s not that type of establishment. It’ll be a fun atmosphere."

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