Chesapeake city council votes yes to allow off-track betting

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - A legal form of gambling is coming to Hampton Roads. In a 7-2 yes vote, Chesapeake City Council is allowing off-track betting in the city. Buckets Bar and Grill off Battlefield Boulevard has been planning a 7,000 sqft addition to their business to accommodate the feature.

"We went through the whole city process. We really wanted for everybody to be totally with what we're doing," said owner Ed Manning.

With a 7-2 yes vote, Manning and his business partners are feeling good.

However, the vote is not without some restrictions and clarifications. Businesses with the legal form of gambling have to be 200 feet away from homes. Moving forward those businesses will be called satellite wagering establishments.

"It's run by the Virginia Racing Commission and the Virginia Equine Alliance. It's strictly regulated - their people are in buildings for day to day operations. It's basically para mutual wagering," said Manning.

That makes it different from computer-based gaming, which is something Rogard Ross, who lives in Chesapeake, isn't a fan of.

"Computer based gaming is practicality unregulated. Permits without regulations and that concerns us. We think there needs to be adequate regulations," said Ross.

Moving forward, Manning is hoping once they open, people who live in the area will understand the difference and come to Buckets for their off-track betting needs.

"No one cares more about what goes on in the city of Chesapeake than the people who live here and we're one of them," Manning said. "We want people to know what we're doing, know who we are and know what we're trying to achieve. Then they can make up their mind."

Buckets still has one more hurdle to jump: Council will vote on their conditional use permit Sept. 19.