Skip to main content
Friday, May 16, 2014 at 11:19 am

Western OTB responds to Senecas suspending Henrietta casino effort

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

Press release:

In a letter to Monroe County Legislator Justin Wilcox, Seneca Nation President Barry Snyder Sr. announced that the Seneca Nation will no longer pursue the siting of a casino development project in Henrietta or Monroe County at this time. Subsequently, representatives of Western Region Off-Track Betting Corporation expressed appreciation to the people of the region for voicing their opposition to the proposal.

In the letter to Wilcox, Snyder stated, “We will not engage in the demanding and complex process required to get a casino approved pursuant to the laws and regulations governing Indian gaming without the support of the local community and New York State.”

To date, 17 towns and 11 counties, as well as the 19-member Inter-County Association of Western New York, have taken formal action opposing the expansion of casino gaming in Henrietta and Monroe County. In addition, 15 members of the State Legislature from across Western and Central New York have publicly expresses their opposition to the proposed expansion of casino gaming in the region. Governor Andrew Cuomo has stated that public support is critical when weighing the decision to expand casino gaming in the state. 

“From businesses, church groups, civic organizations, and everyday people from across the region to state leaders and local municipalities, the opposition to a casino in Monroe County has been overwhelming,” said Michael P. Nolan, executive vice president/COO of WROTB. “Clearly the Seneca Nation has heard the will of the people and responded accordingly.”

While acknowledging the Seneca Nation’s cessation of its efforts to expand casino gaming in Monroe County at this time, Nolan understands that the Senecas could reinitiate their efforts at a later date.

“If in the future the Seneca Nation should move forward with a proposal to expand casino gaming in Monroe County, we will once again emphatically oppose such a plan,” Nolan said. “The people of Monroe County recognize the fact that a Seneca-owned casino would adversely impact the local community and give the Seneca Nation a competitive advantage that will be damaging to businesses, both large and small, across the region. That is something that the people of this community are unwilling to accept, and they resoundingly made that point.”

Owned and operated by 15 Western New York counties and the cities of Rochester and Buffalo, Western Regional OTB is a public benefit corporation with headquarters in Batavia. WROTB owns and operates 29 branches, as well as Batavia Downs Gaming, a standard bred racetrack and gaming facility. Since its inception, Western OTB has generated more than $215 million in operating and surcharge revenues to the taxpayers of those participating municipalities.

Monday, May 5, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Batavia Downs sets Derby Day record for wagers

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

Press release:

Representatives from Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation (WROTB) announced today that total wagering at WROTB on Saturday’s Churchill Downs races including the Kentucky Derby topped out at $2,173,378. This beat WROTB’s previous record set in 2012 of $2,007,064. The 2014 number is an 8.8-percent increase over the 2013. Wagers placed at Batavia Downs Gaming totaled $26,000, an increase of 30 percent over last year. Wagering using BataviaBets.com, WROTB’s online Web site, was $97,387 -- a one-day record. Nationally, the handle on the Kentucky Derby was about even with last year. Seven winners across OTB’s branches hit the Superfecta for $7,691 each. One patron at Batavia Downs hit the $2 trifecta five times winning $17,500. Total handle taken in by WROTB on May 3rd was $2,529,197.90, a one-day record for the corporation, celebrating its 40th year of existence this month.

“We’re happy to see such robust numbers," stated WROTB CEO and President Michael Kane. “With national wagering flat, it’s great to see that people in Western New York made it a point to visit our gaming facility, branches and EZ Bets on Saturday to get in on the excitement that the Kentucky Derby brings to viewers. As a public benefit corporation, a percentage of money wagered goes back to the counties that own WROTB meaning higher Derby handle numbers benefit all residents of Western New York.”

TV Ratings showed that Buffalo Ranked 4th nationally among viewership in major cities posting a 16.9 rating and 32 share.

“It’s so exciting to see that interest in the Kentucky Derby is alive and well in Western New York,“ said Ryan Hasenauer, director of Marketing of Batavia Downs and WROTB. “We’re all pulling for a triple-crown contender in California Chrome. All our Branches will be open at 10 a.m. on May 17th, the morning of the Preakness, and we’ll be having another party at Batavia Downs with specials which include food, Free Play and a complimentary Preakness wager like we had for the Derby. There will also be live tellers available.”

Owned and operated by 15 Western New York counties and the cities of Rochester and Buffalo, Western Regional OTB is a public benefit corporation with headquarters in Batavia, NY. WROTB owns and operates 30 branches, as well as Batavia Downs Gaming, a standard bred racetrack and gaming facility.

Saturday, May 3, 2014 at 7:08 pm

Photos: Derby Day at Batavia Downs

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs

There was a big crowd for the big race at Batavia Downs.

The Kentucky Derby was won by California Chrome.

This gentleman wanted me to take a picture of his "winning" ticket. I couldn't find him after the race, so I can't confirm that it was indeed a winner.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 10:36 am

WNY gaming and racing venues raked in $32.6 million for the state during first fiscal quarter

post by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs

Press release:

Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. (WROTB), Hamburg Gaming and Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack today announced they have contributed $32.6 million during the first quarter of 2014 to the State of New York as part of their gaming revenue-sharing arrangement.

They also provided horsemen purses of $5.4 million during the same period.

WROTB owns and operates Batavia Downs Gaming in Batavia as well as OTB branches throughout Western New York.

The quarterly payment brings the total paid to the State by the three gaming entities to $1,061,374,354 since the venues opened about 10 years ago. Horsemen have received an additional $174,854,433 since the inception of the facilities.

Michael P. Nolan, executive vice president/COO of WROTB, noted that more than $215 million has been given to the 15 counties and two cities that own WROTB since its inception.

"The operations at Batavia, Hamburg and Finger Lakes have not only positively impacted the lives of thousands of families across our region through direct and indirect employment, they also provide a consistent and significant stream of revenue for 15 counties and two cities, helping to alleviate the tax burden for people across the region," said WROTC President Michael Kane. "Every person within the 15-county area that we encompass has a vested financial interest in the success of our operations."

Sunday, April 13, 2014 at 11:36 pm

Buffet & Free Play: A Community Celebration

post by Robert Brown in Batavia Downs, Buffet, celebration, community, GCLP

The Genesee County Libertarian Party sponsored Buffet & Free Play: A Community Celebration will be held at Batavia Downs Gaming, 8315 Park Road, Batavia, NY.

Admission to the celebration is by advance ticket purchase only.  Tickets are limited so purchase yours soon!

Complete details are available at:


Event Date and Time

May 31, 2014 - 6:30pm - 9:00pm
Monday, March 24, 2014 at 2:58 pm

Casino developer threatens Western OTB with suit for filing request for investigation

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


Tensions are rising over a proposed Seneca Casino in Henrietta.

The law firm for Rochester developer David Flaum -- who’s working with the Senecas to explore a Las Vegas-style casino in Henrietta -- has written a letter to Western Regional Off-Track Betting threatening legal action.

It’s over the complaint filed by WROTB to the state ethics board over alleged illegal lobbying activities. The complaint seeks exploration of potential violations of the state’s lobbying law between the Seneca Gaming Corporation/Seneca Nation and Flaum. Batavia Downs CEO Michael Nolan told WBTA at the time of the filing that “evidence exists to support the conclusion that Mr. Flaum and Flaum Rochester have been acting as unregistered lobbyists and have accepted a contingent-based employment from the Nation.

Also some evidence exists to support that the Nation and the Seneca Gaming Corporation are considered lobbying clients of Mr. Flaum and Flaum Rochester and have failed to submit required semiannual reports.”

The developer’s attorney called the complaint “fabricated” and that if it wasn’t dropped, they would sue OTB.

OTB officials say it’s well within their right to seek an opinion from the ethics panel.

“We just submitted the complaint to JCOPE, which is a state commission that’s tasked with interpreting if a contract of this type falls within the ethics law,” OTB President and CEO Michael Kane said. “That’s all we’ve done.”

Multiple municipalities and politicians have voiced their opposition to the casino, saying it would have negative effects on Batavia Downs and the area.

The Senecas purchased 32 acres of land in the Town of Henrietta earlier this month.

Monday, March 10, 2014 at 5:15 pm

Genesee County Chamber announces opposition to Seneca casino in Henrietta

post by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, business, chamber of commerce

Press release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce has joined the growing opposition to the expansion of casino gaming in Western New York.

The Chamber’s Board of Directors has unanimously passed a resolution opposing any new proposed casino in New York west of Route 14 and specifically the location of a new tax-free, Las Vegas-style casino in Monroe County owned and operated by the Seneca Nation.

The addition of another casino located in Western New York would over-saturate the regional gaming marketplace and would have negative impact on Batavia Downs Gaming and its operations. Batavia Downs Gaming is located in Genesee County and has shown to be an outstanding partner in the community and is directly and indirectly responsible for thousands of jobs in our region.

An additional casino in such proximity to Batavia Downs will greatly jeopardize the livelihoods of those thousands of individuals who rely on the continued operation and success of Batavia Downs Gaming. Not only would Batavia Downs Gaming be affected, but the addition of a full Las Vegas-style casino has shown to have a negative impact on surrounding restaurant, hotel and other hospitality businesses as well.

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce has asked fellow business organizations in the region to join in opposition to expanding gaming in Monroe County and all other locations in New York west of Route 14.

Monday, March 3, 2014 at 5:23 pm

As Senecas appear to move forward with casino plans, Batavia Downs officials say its a breach of the compact

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

Press release:

Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation today reacted to media reports of the Seneca Nation of Indians’ purchase of 32 acres in the Town of Henrietta as a potential site for a gaming casino.

“Today’s announcement by the Seneca Nation of a significant land purchase in Henrietta for a casino gaming facility should not come as a shock to anyone,” said Michael P. Nolan, executive vice president/COO of WROTB. “Despite the fact that the casino compact of 2002 specifically allows them to operate only three casinos in the region, the Senecas never had any intention of abiding by the terms of that agreement. This land purchase only reinforces that point. The compact also provides that they will not use any of the Seneca Settlement Act funds for another casino. The use of these funds for another casino shows another potential breach of the compact by the Senecas.”

In 2002, the Seneca Nation signed a gaming compact with the State of New York, under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which allowed the Seneca Nation to operate three “class III gaming” casino facilities. The Seneca Nation currently operates casinos in Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Salamanca. 

With the land purchase by the Seneca Nation, Nolan believes that community opposition will grow exponentially.

“There is already significant opposition to the casino from residents of Henrietta, the business community, church and civic organizations, and a multitude of town boards and county legislative bodies throughout the region,” Nolan said. “Now that the Senecas’ intentions have taken a much more serious turn with the land purchase, I fully expect opposition to grow in terms of both numbers and intensity.”

Nolan vowed to work with local communities and opposition groups to stop casino gaming in Henrietta.

“This region is oversaturated with casino gaming, and another facility will cause irreparable harm to thousands of businesses, families, and municipalities throughout the region,” Nolan said.

Owned and operated by 15 Western New York counties and the cities of Rochester and Buffalo, Western Regional OTB is a public benefit corporation with headquarters in Batavia, NY. WROTB owns and operates 31 branches, as well as Batavia Downs Gaming, a standard bred racetrack and gaming facility.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Council member makes impassioned plea for his colleagues to oppose expanding gaming in WNY

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs

John Deleo made an impassioned plea to his fellow City Council members Monday night to support a resolution calling for a ban on further expansion of gambling facilities in Western New York.

But he couldn't convince Rose Mary Christian.

Christian was the lone council member voting against the resolution because she didn't see it as necessary.

"It's important we share in this opposition," Deleo said. "We need to be opposed to any more casinos because we're already at a point of over saturation, so this is very important."

According to the resolution, the Seneca Nation is planning to buy land in Henrietta in order to build a Vegas-style casino near Rochester.

Batavia Downs draws a lot of customers from Monroe County, Deleo said.

“The Seneca Nation is looking at building a casino in Henrietta,” Deleo said. “It would definitely hurt us. The barbarians are at the gate.”

Batavia Downs generates income for local governments in 11 WNY counties, including $3.5 million for Genesee County, on gross annual revenue of $215 million. It employs 460 people in Batavia with an annual payroll of $5 million.

Members of the New York Legislature and the governor's office will receive copies of the resolution passed on a 8-1 vote by the council.

Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 7:18 pm

Batavia Downs shows off modern new casino room during grand reopening ceremony

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

This afternoon, Batavia Downs hosted a ribbon-cutting and grand reopening of its casino room expansion on the first floor of the historic facility.

The new gaming area has been open for a week and that first week of revenue exceeded by 20 percent the previous record week for Batavia Downs, said Ryan Hasenauer, marketing director for Batavia Downs.

The expanded casino area also includes a new sports bar called Rush 34, officially hosted by former Bills great Thurman Thomas.

Ribbon cutton: Assemblyman Steve Hawley, State Sen. Patrick Gallivan, State Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer and Maurice Gardner, representing the City of Buffalo.

Speaking is State Sen. Patrick Patrick Gallivan, who represents Erie and Wyoming counties, which are counties that also benefit from revenue generated by Batavia Downs.

Speaking, Assemblyman Steve Hawley.

Among the amenities in the expansion is a water fountain that drops water in sculpted form, be it letters spelling out Batavia Downs, symbols from slot machines or geometic patterns. Here's a video of the fountain:

Premium Drupal Themes