Residents with a fondness for the sport of kings have a new place to put down their money.
The Payson Town Council has approved a request for off-track betting at Famous Sam's, 307 S. Beeline Highway.
The request was made in a letter from David Johnson, vice president of Turf Paradise. His representative, Jack Mullin, attended the July 25 meeting of the council, along with Famous Sam's owner, Shawn Sloan.
The Arizona Department of Racing requires that in order to have off-track betting (OTB) at Famous Sam's, approval must be given by the town council.
The state permit for OTB at Famous Sam's will run until May 31, 2003.
"I am opposed to this and gambling. I am concerned that more than 5 million suffer from pathological gambling," Councilor Dick Reese said.
David Mumma also spoke in opposition.
"I oppose bringing (gambling) into the city," Mumma said. "It causes more problems than benefits ... For every dollar spent gambling, it costs $3 for criminal justice, social welfare, regulatory action and infrastructure."
Responding to Reese, Sloan said, "It is not something new. I don't know if there was an increase in crime when it was at Mario's."
Speaking in support of OTB, resident Carolyn Wall said, "My father is in his 90s and he loves to play the ponies. It is what keeps him going and active. He ought to have a chance to keep on doing it."
The council voted 6-1 to approve the request to allow off-track betting through Turf Paradise at Famous Sam's. It will be available in early September.