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Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Batavia Downs closing temporarily Monday to accommodate construction work

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business

Press release:

Batavia Downs Gaming will be closing at 10 p.m. on Monday, July 15 and reopen no later than 3 p.m. on the following day, Tuesday, July 16 to accommodate construction work.

Management is confident that the facility will reopen prior to 3 p.m. that day. Those wishing to find information on the reopening of the facility should check Batavia Downs’ Web site (bataviadownsgaming.com) as well as their social media pages on Facebook (facebook.com/bataviadowns) and Twitter (twitter.com/bataviadowns) for up to date information that day after 11 a.m.

The newly expanded gaming floor is scheduled to open on Aug. 30.

Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Changes ahead at Batavia Downs as contruction project proceeds and new racing season approaches

post by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports

Press release:

Racing fans will notice some changes when the 2013 live racing season gets under way at America’s oldest lighted harness track, Batavia Downs. The 67th season July 22, with a new post time of 6:30 p.m.

The historic track is in the midst of a $27 million construction project to move and expand the gaming floor to the ground level. The projected opening is Aug. 30.

Racing fans wishing to enjoy the races on the track apron or in the paddock room must enter through the north gate, located where a new cross walk has been installed. Racing fans wishing to dine in the clubhouse or view the races from the enclosed grandstand can continue to enter through the main entrance.

“We’re excited about nearing the completion of phase one of the expansion project,” said William White, vice president of Administration. “We have been working closely with Todd (Haight, GM of Live Racing) to put this facility back together in time for racing.

"I’m confident both our racing and gaming customers will enjoy the benefits from having both venues on the same level.”

Among the improvements on the racing side are a new paved track apron, redesigned paddock room mutuel betting windows and walk about tellers in the clubhouse.

Monday, July 8, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Today entry begins for the Wiener Dog Races at Batavia Downs

post by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports

Press release:

One of the biggest events on the promotional calendar at Batavia Downs every season is the Wiener Dog Races and 2013 will be no exception as the dachshunds take to the track during this year's Family Fun Day at the races, scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 25.

Entry into the races begins today, July 8. To enter your dachshund, call event coordinator Arna Tygart at 585-343-3750, ext. 437.

There is an 80-dog limit and an also-eligible list will be started if needed. The first 70 dogs entered will receive a "Doggie Gift Bag" courtesy of the race sponsor -- Petco of Batavia.

The fleet-footed dachshund named Gordon, owned by Lindsay Ryan, of Lancaster, will be looking to three-peat in this year’s event. He dead-heated with another wiener dog legend, Jake Arnold, and then scored a very narrow victory last year.

A total of 10 heats will be contested this year with eight wiener dogs in each race.

The winners of each qualifying heat will receive $25 in free play at Batavia Downs Gaming. The winners of each heat will advance to the finals with the champion getting $100 of free play for the gaming machines.

The second- and third-place finishers will also receive free play. The wiener dog competition, a dash down the homestretch of Batavia Downs, will begin after the last live harness race, at approximately 4:20 p.m.

"This is one of our biggest days of the year and it definitely brings out one our largest crowds of the season," said Batavia Downs' General Manager of Live Racing Todd Haight. “We'll get dogs coming in from all around New York State. In fact, we have heard some are already in training."

Besides the wiener dog races, other highlights of the Family Fun Day will include free pony rides from 2 until 4 p.m. sponsored by Castilone Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep of Batavia.

The day will also see appearances by the ever popular Pringles the Clown and Mr. Scribbles. There will be $1 Salhen’s hot dogs and $1 sodas available from noon until 4.

A 12-race card of afternoon harness racing is scheduled on Family Fun Day with first post slated for 1:15 p.m. Admission and parking is free.

Batavia Downs, the oldest lighted harness track, will kick off its 67th season on Monday, July 22.

Friday, June 21, 2013 at 9:35 am

Batavia Downs announces support for new gaming legislation

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business, Western Regional OTB

Press release:

Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation (WROTBC), owner/operator of Batavia Downs has pledged its support of the Upstate New York Gaming Economic Development Act and the referendum that will be put to the citizens of New York State in November.

“This legislation keeps Batavia Downs Gaming as a vital partner to state and local governments,” said Michael Kane, president and CEO of WROTBC and Batavia Downs Gaming. “This act will allow us to continue providing good paying jobs and generating significant funding for schools and our municipalities. Governor Cuomo and the legislature recognize the significant contributions made by racetrack casinos in Western New York to state education funding and job creation.”

Monday, June 17, 2013 at 2:21 pm

'Batavia Downs Live' TV broadcast returns July 24

post by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports

Press release:

"Batavia Downs Live,” the popular three-and-a-half hour television broadcast of the harness races from Batavia Downs, returns on July 24, the second racing night of the 2013 season, at the historic track located in Genesee County.

A total of 20 race cards will be televised in the Time-Warner Rochester region on digital cable Channel 98. The coverage area includes Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming, Monroe, Livingston, Wayne, Ontario, and Seneca counties.

The broadcast beings at 6:30 p.m. and will conclude at 10 p.m.

Ashley Holliday, who currently serves as the Downs parade marshal, will now double as TV host and racing analyst on all Time Warner broadcasts, while continuing her duties as parade marshal on other race nights. She’ll co-host the broadcast with longtime track announcer Joe Zambito.

“Bringing Ashley aboard will add another dimension to our broadcast,” said Todd Haight, general manager of live racing. “Throughout the years she's gained a tremendous knowledge of harness racing and will do a great job of conveying that to our viewers.

"It only made sense to bring back the TV broadcast now that OTB offers online wagering at Bataviabets.com. I expect some real growth once the season begins.”

Western Regional Off-Track Betting, the owner of Batavia Downs, also provides telephone betting through its Dial-A-Bet service. Patrons may phone 1.800.724.4000 to establish an account or for more information on how to open a Batavia Bets account.

Friday, June 14, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Batavia Downs not terribly hurt by Cuomo's deal with Senecas, but just don't call it a casino

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business

We're not supposed to call it Batavia Downs Casino anymore, but beyond that, officials are still sorting out what a new compact between New York and the Seneca Nation means for Western Regional OTB.

In exchange for resuming long-overdue payments, at a reduced rate, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has granted the Senecas exclusive rights to casino operations in WNY.

Exactly what "exclusivity" means hasn't been entirely spelled out, said Michael Kane, president of the Western Regional OTB.

Dick Siebert said he's worried the governor has given away Rochester to the Senecas after promising that Batavia Downs would be the only gaming facility in the region.

Dropping "casino" from the name isn't too troubling, nor is the requirement to stop calling video terminal games "slots," and even the loss of electronic table games isn't crippling, but there needs to be some compensation to WROTB for the deal cut with the Senecas.

The Senecas had their taxes reduced, Siebert said, so should Batavia Downs.

"They got what they wanted and we’re just looking for a little relief ourselves since they took the table games away from us," he said.

WROTB is lobbying for a 15-percent reduction in the amount of money it sends to New York, Siebert said.

"We need concessions to be able to provide more for our local counties," Siebert said.

Batavia Downs is undergoing a $27-million renovation downstairs and space was being set aside for electronic table games. That space will just now be used for something else, Siebert said.

"We can survive without them (the table games), that's for sure," Siebert said.

Kane agreed.

"We still think our customers will be very happy with the expansion," Kane said.

Related link: The Buffalo News.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 3:00 pm

World Harness Handicapping Championship qualifier is March 22 at Batavia Downs

post by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports

Western Regional Off-Track Betting and Batavia Downs Casino are pleased to announce they will be hosting a World Harness Handicapping Championship qualifier at the historic harness track on Friday night, March 22.

Entry fee is $10 and two entries are permitted. The initial entry fee includes $5 returned in Casino slot play. The contest is limited to 150 entries.

The qualifier will consist of races 1 – 10 at Buffalo Raceway and races 1 – 8 at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

Contestants are required to make a total of nine mythical win-place wagers on the 18 designated contest races of which at least five contest wagers must be made on Buffalo Raceway. The remaining four wagers can be made on either Buffalo Raceway or the Meadowlands. Only one mythical wager is allowed per designated contest race.

Each contest wager will consist of a mythical $10 win-place wager. No best bet selection is required.

The “Win” mutuel will be capped at $40. The “Place” mutuel will be capped at $20 Therefore, the most a contestant can win in any given contest race is $300.

The Grand prize is a trip to compete in the $100,000 World Harness Handicapping Championship to be held on April 13 at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The winner will also receive hotel accommodations for two nights and $500 in expense money. The package is valued at $1,750. The top 10 finishers receive prize money.

Advance payments are being accepted by mailing a check or mail order to Batavia Downs Casino, 8315 Park Road, Batavia NY 14020, Attn: Todd H.

Walk-ups the night of the contest can also enter with the amount of open seats available determined by the number of advance entries.

Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 1:05 pm

New sports bar at Batavia Downs to be called '34 Rush'

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business

Press release:

The staff of Batavia Downs Casino and Thurman Thomas have released the name and logo of their new bar and restaurant to be built inside Batavia Downs Casino. After receiving hundreds of entries via a naming contest, run through Twitter, the name chosen by staff and Mr. Thomas is “34 Rush."

The logo of the new sports bar includes Thurman’s signature and the phrase “34 Rush” with a slightly pitched block font and the words sports bar underneath. Fans who wish to follow “34 Rush” may do so at facebook.com/34rush as well as twitter.com/34rush.

“We give thanks to the many fans that submitted names over the course of last week," said Ryan Hasenauer, director of Marketing for Batavia Downs Casino. “The name of the bar correlates to Mr. Thomas’ position and his number. The bar name is not one of a typical sports bar. It’s unique, just like Thurman.”

Batavia Downs Casino is in the process of reaching out to the Twitter commenters that helped contribute to the naming of the bar. Those persons will enjoy a dinner with Mr. Thomas as well as prizes from the casino.  The facility’s $28 million dollar expansion begins on Feb. 4 and will conclude some time in the fall.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 1:44 am

Batavia Downs announces contest to name new Thurman Thomas sports bar

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business

Press release:

The staff of Batavia Downs Casino and Thurman Thomas are now accepting entries to name the Hall of Famer’s new restaurant on site at Batavia Downs Casino.

The facility’s $28 Million dollar expansion begins within a month and includes construction of a new Thurman Thomas sports bar. Customers may tweet a suggestion for the Sports Bar’s name on Twitter by tweeting from their account and including the name of the Sports Bar with the tag @BataviaDowns. The contest will end at Noon on Friday, Jan. 18.

Staff from Batavia Downs Casino and Thurman Thomas will review the entries and declare a winner before the end of January.

The person that submits the winning name will win dinner for two inside the new sports bar with Thurman Thomas and Batavia Downs Staff when the new facility opens sometime in the fall. The winner shall also receive a Batavia Downs Casino Prize Pack valued at more than $250.

If more than one person suggests the winning name, then one person shall be randomly chosen from those who suggested that name. Winner will be notified via twitter that they have won. Full rules can be found on Batavia Downs Casino’s Web site at www.bataviadownscasino.com.

“Thurman’s new sports bar will offer great food, a stage for live entertainment on weekends, and many large flat screen TVs where our patrons can enjoy all their favorite sporting events,” said Ryan Hasenauer, director of marketing for Batavia Downs Casino. “It will also feature various pieces of football and Thurman Thomas memorabilia.”

Monday, January 7, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Batavia Downs announces record year for 2012

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business, Western OTB

Press release:

Batavia Downs Casino has closed the books on another record year, with a casino expansion starting in less than one month and the possibility of enhanced gaming on the horizon. The facility has enjoyed at least 4-percent growth every year since opening in 2005.

The 640 video lottery terminals at the track’s gaming parlor generated $45.1 million last year in net winnings, according to the NY Lottery. This figure is up 13.38 percent from 2011’s $39.78 million. Earnings in 2011 were 5.53 percent over what was earned in 2010.

“As one of the nine New York State Racetrack Casinos, we are giving back to the State of New York via our daily contributions to the New York State Lottery, and our distributions to our member municipalities,” said Michael Kane, CEO and president for Batavia Downs Casino.

Batavia Downs in owned and operated by Western Regional Off-Track Betting, a public benefit corporation. Municipalities that own Batavia Downs Casino include: the cities of Buffalo and Rochester, and the counties of Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Oswego, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, and Wyoming.

“As a public benefit corporation, all revenues net expenses are distributed to the fifteen counties and two cities of Western New York,” said Ryan Hasenauer, director of marketing for Batavia Downs Casino. “People know that when they come here for entertainment, their money is going to New York State, either via the lottery for education or to the counties that they live and work in. We’re happy to give back.”

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