Fat Sam's Wants OTB in Southwest Burbs

Village optimistic it can attract betting parlor and bar

Sunday, Nov 20, 2011  |  Updated 10:25 AM CDT
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Fat Sam's Wants OTB in Southwest Burbs

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Off-track betting may soon be coming to another southwest suburb.

Where Mustangs were once sold, Southland residents may soon be able to bet on the ponies.

Arlington Park intends to file paperwork with the state to run an off-track betting parlor inside a restaurant planned for southwest suburban Orland Hills, according to village administrator John Daly.

The OTB parlor would be at 9201 W. 159th St., where Hertz had a car-rental location, then later converted it into a used-car lot, Daly said.

The betting parlor would be inside a restaurant planned by brothers Sam and Steve LaRocco, who operate Fat Sam’s taverns in Lockport and Orland Park, Daly said. The Fat Sam’s in Lockport has one of Arlington’s Trackside OTB parlors inside it. Sam LaRocco was not available Friday to comment.

Arlington Park is owned by Louisville, Ky.-based Churchill Downs Inc. A company spokeswoman was not available for comment Friday, and a spokesman at Arlington said the track wouldn’t comment on its plans for Orland Hills until an application is filed with the Illinois Racing Board.

Daly said he believed Arlington officials plan to file the paperwork soon. The village has sent a letter to the racing board, indicating that the property is properly zoned for an OTB, he said.

The LaRocco brothers plan to seek a liquor license from the village for the restaurant and betting parlor, Daly said.

He said village officials "have been in discussions for a while" with Arlington, and this is the latest -- and perhaps most optimistic -- effort to woo an OTB to Orland Hills.

Ten years ago, Inter-Track Partners -- whose owners include the Balmoral, Hawthorne and Maywood horse tracks -- was in talks for an OTB parlor in a freestanding building on 159th Street, adjacent to Georgio’s Comfort Inn. Locally, Inter-Track operates OTBs in Crestwood and Mokena.

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