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March 31, 2014 - 2:58pm

Ranzenhofer announces increase in VTL funds for local governments

posted by Howard B. Owens in Mike Ranzenhofer.

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced today that the 2014-15 New York State Budget will increase Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) aid by more than 27 percent to the host communities of Batavia Downs.

Throughout the budget process, Senator Ranzenhofer and his colleagues in the State Senate have been working to secure additional VLT aid.

“I am pleased to announce that I was able to secure more VLT aid – for the Town of Batavia, the City of Batavia, and Genesee County – to help offset expenses for hosting Batavia Downs. This is a huge win for our community. Local governments and taxpayers will now receive a $171,700 funding boost,” Ranzenhofer said.

The 2014 Executive Budget proposed VLT aid remain at the prior year’s funding level. The 2014-15 State Budget will increase VLT aid among the three host communities of Batavia Downs by approximately $171,765.

Breakdown: VLT Aid to Batavia Downs Casino Host Communities


2014-15 Executive Budget Proposal

2014-15 Enacted Budget

Change from Executive Budget Proposal

City of Batavia




Town of Batavia




Genesee County




In 2006, State Finance Law authorized payment of aid to municipalities with video lottery terminal facilities. Funding for host communities was eliminated by Senate and Assembly Democrats in 2009 and 2010. Currently, host communities receive 55 percent of the aid received in 2008-09; the 2014-15 State Budget will restore aid to 70 percent of 2008-09 levels.

Senator Ranzenhofer is a cosponsor of legislation, S2120A, to resore VLT aid to 2008 levels.

david spaulding
david spaulding's picture
Last seen: 1 week 3 days ago
Joined: Sep 12 2011 - 5:46pm

Local governments and taxpayers will now receive a $171,700 funding boost
this is awesome, been a genesee co. taxpayer for about 14 years... how much do I get?

Mark Potwora
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Last seen: 6 hours 18 min ago
Joined: May 14 2008 - 6:42pm

Thing to remember is that Batavia downs being a state agency pays no property tax to the to me this is just them paying their property taxes...

Shannon Laurer
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Last seen: 5 days 9 hours ago
Joined: Apr 11 2010 - 9:20am

Okay, I'll play devils advocate, The Downs closes, now we have no vtl funds or tax revenue(per say), hundreds are out of jobs, hotel, dining and retail decline due to slowed traffic from out of the area AND we now have another giant space rotting away! This should get interesting........negative away...... LOL!

Mark Potwora
Mark Potwora's picture
Last seen: 6 hours 18 min ago
Joined: May 14 2008 - 6:42pm

I would sell to a private company and make it one of the four privately run casinos that we voted for on last years referendum..They would pay property tax,hire more people and also bring in revenue for this area...

Shannon Laurer
Shannon Laurer's picture
Last seen: 5 days 9 hours ago
Joined: Apr 11 2010 - 9:20am

How does that work when another one of those 4 casinos opens up 30 miles down the thruway from the Downs?

Shannon Laurer
Shannon Laurer's picture
Last seen: 5 days 9 hours ago
Joined: Apr 11 2010 - 9:20am

Double post

James Renfrew
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Last seen: 6 months 5 days ago
Joined: Jul 27 2008 - 11:05pm

Has there ever been a serious Batavia Downs cost/benefit analysis? I know the pro-gambling perspective emphasizes construction and operations jobs, but what does it cost tax payers for infrastructure maintenance and improvements, law enforcement and courts? And what is the net impact on the economy - loss of jobs in other area businesses because people shift their spending to Batavia Downs? Where do the profits of Batavia Downs end up - in Genesee County or somewhere else? I see the $171 K figure in this press release, but the eagerness in presenting the figure makes me wonder if this is a drop in the bucket compared to what it actually costs the county, city or town to have Batavia Downs here? And then what is the impact of people spending down their savings and then requiring additional public assistance for medical, housing and food down the road?

What is the long-term impact of expanded gambling in other locations like Rochester, Southern Tier or anywhere else in western New York? Is this a growing industry, or is it flat, so that a new gambling site reduces the action in Batavia? If so, then it will take a longer time to recover infrastructure investments. If gambling sites are opened elsewhere in New York State, I think it might mean that instead of Batavia Downs being an attractive tourist destination that draws in dollars from elsewhere, it would just be sucking more money from the pockets of local residents.
Is that a benefit or a drain on taxpayers?

Does anyone, especially Senator Ranzenhofer who has taken the time to issue this press release, know the answers to these questions?

Lincoln DeCoursey
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Last seen: 8 months 2 days ago
Joined: Nov 5 2008 - 2:23am

VLT has been a lifeline to Batavia Downs in a time when the cultural significance of harness racing has evaporated. However, the difference between a racino and a casino will be immediately apparent if Henrietta gets a casino. In that eventuality, and unless table games shake loose for the Downs during the scrum involving state power brokers and the Senecas, it will quickly amount to an existential challenge to both Batavia Downs and Finger Lakes race tracks. The benefit of video gaming to Batavia is clear cut: it allows Batavia's horse racing pedigree, whatever it's worth, to be perpetuated. In the near future, video gaming alone may no longer be enough.

Regarding the pros and cons of playing host to a gaming venue, these are widely discussed and perspectives vary. The sort of questions raised by James are important ones. A key observation however is that the relevant cost/benefit analysis is not conducted locally. It's performed in Albany by those with the strings.

James Renfrew
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Last seen: 6 months 5 days ago
Joined: Jul 27 2008 - 11:05pm

Lincoln concluded: "the relevant cost/benefit analysis is ... performed in Albany by those with the strings".

To which I would comment that assemblypeople and senators representing Genesee County appear to be in lockstep with whoever has those strings. Senator Ranzenhofer seems to have no doubts about the value of gambling facilities in his district, based on his press release. Another question I should have added to my previous post: How much cash is directed to local legislators by gambling interests? That could be calculated as an additional cost to our area, the cost of representatives potentially representing certain interests ahead of the public.

Dave Olsen
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Last seen: 2 months 1 day ago
Joined: Oct 12 2008 - 11:48am

It would work the same as any other competitive business, they would do their best to attract as many customers as they can. Maybe only one survives, maybe both thrive, maybe both close. If there is still a perceived market, then someone else will open another casino and if that does well, then someone will open a competitor and so on and so on. The Market will decide (that's the consumers) who makes it and how much. But, that's not how we do things here in the great Soviet Socialist State of NY.

Mark Potwora
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Last seen: 6 hours 18 min ago
Joined: May 14 2008 - 6:42pm

If New York state is so good at running a casino and race track that bring in all this revenue why are taxes up year after year..If they are so good at this business why not open some state run restaurants or state run manufacturing companies....Why not because it is wrong..Just like the state running a casino and a race track.....Ranzenhofer should be working on cutting the size of government in New York state and not about how much of the profits from a government run casino he should give back ..He is just another employee of the state deciding who gets some of their tax dollars back.....The big joke is when the State arrests someone for illegal gambling..

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