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Northam signs bill that OKs new race track betting machines

A Colonial Downs Off Track Betting parlor in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, June 3, 2014. A bill to allow slots-like betting machines to revive the shuttered Colonial Downs horse-racing track outside Richmond has been signed by Gov. Northam. File. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has signed a bill allowing new betting machines at a once-popular horse racetrack.

The governor acted on Monday on the bill to allow historical race terminals at Colonial Downs, a recently shuttered horse track about 30 miles (50 kilometers) outside of Richmond. The bill’s supporters hope to make it easier for the track to reopen.

The machines let people bet on past horse races without knowing which horse they are betting on.

Opponents said the measure could open the door for increased gambling in Virginia, including casinos.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports Northam also issued an executive directive Monday requiring the Virginia Racing Commission to place “reasonable limitations on the proliferation of gaming in Virginia” as it develops regulations to carry out the law.

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