Local Matters

Recent comments

Community Sponsors

Batavia Downs

May 24, 2018 - 10:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, mma, Mixed Martial Arts, Ground Force Fights.

Press release:

Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel has announced that Ground Force Fight’s “Throwdown at the Downs” event will take place on Saturday, June 23rd. A press conference in the Batavia Downs Lobby with local fighters from the event will start at noon on Friday, May 25th.

“We are excited to host our first MMA event on the track,” said Henry Wojtaszek, CEO/president at Batavia Downs Gaming. “Ground Force Fights has a history of putting on exciting shows and we’re pleased to be providing a new space in which they can entertain the passionate MMA fans of Western New York.”

Bouts include: Tom Shelby of Le Roy vs. Yuri Panferov of North Haven, Conn., for Cruiser heavyweight Title; Grady Wall of Bergen vs. Xi Lau of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, for the flyweight title; and Quentin Marozzi of Caledonia vs. Teshay Gouthro of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, for the bantamweight title.

“Partnering with Batavia Downs is something we’ve talked about for a long time,’ said Richard Mitchell, owner of Ground Force Fights. “We’re looking forward to putting on our first outdoor show and invite the public to come root on the many local fighters who will be taking part in the event.”

Tickets are $35 for General Admission and $55 for VIP seats closer to the cage. Tickets are on sale now at bataviaconcerts.com

Doors open at 4:30 p.m.; event starts at 6.

Lawn chairs (which are normally permitted for other Batavia Downs events) are NOT permitted for this event. There will be limited chairs and bleacher seating available.

Each concert ticket is also redeemable once at Player’s Club in the three days following the event for $15 Free Play to be used on one of Batavia Downs Gaming’s 800+ gaming machines.

May 20, 2018 - 10:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, news, batavia.

otbsportspetitionmay2018.jpg

Local entertainer Jonathan Blades visited Batavia Downs yesterday for the Preakness and stopped by a table set up by the Western OTB to sign a petition asking the State Legislature to approve a bill that would take advantage of Monday's Supreme Court ruling throwing out federal prohibitions on state-regulated sports wagering. The bill would make sports betting legal at off-track betting locations and casinos.

otbsportspetitionmay2018-2.jpg

May 14, 2018 - 3:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, news, sports, Gambling.

There is some preliminary work to be done, including changes in state law, before Batavia Downs can start offering legal sports betting but Western OTB President Henry F. Wojtaszek said the racetrack is eager to offer a type of gaming customers have long wanted locally.

"It’s clearly something our customers clearly want," Wojtaszek said. "We've seen it in our petitions and our surveys."

State Senator John J. Bonacic has introduced Senate Bill 7900 to amend that state gaming laws would allow sports betting at the state's existing four casinos and Wojtaszek said he expects Batavia Downs to be included in the legal changes. 

Batavia Downs, under an agreement between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Seneca Nation, cannot call itself a casino and cannot offer table games like a casnio but Wojtaszek said he doesn't anticipate a similar problem with sports betting.

"That should not be a problem," Wojtaszek said. "There has never been any prohibition and there have been no exclusive rights granted to the Senecas regarding sports betting so I don't anticipate an issue."

The possibility of sports wagering at Batavia Downs is possible because the Supreme Court struck down a federal statute that prevented states from offering and regulating sports betting as each state saw fit.

New York has long been ready to take advantage of any potential change in federal law and Batavia has been preparing for the idea right along. They've identified an area on the second floor as a sports betting parlor and Wojtaszek said he anticipates sports wagering kiosks in Rush 34 and other select spots in the facility.

Sports betting will not only appeal to current Batavia Downs customers, Wojtaszek said, but also to a whole new set of customers who will appreciate a good, safe, legal atmosphere for sports wagering.

"It's definitely part of the experience that people can come in with their friends, eat, drink, and watch a game and place a wager on it," Wojtaszek said. "There are people already into that and now they will have a nice legal spot to do it, which will only enhance the experience."

May 14, 2018 - 11:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, Western OTB, business.

Press release:

Today, the United States Supreme Court decided to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, a 1992 federal law that limited gambling.

This Supreme Court decision paves the way to bring sports betting to New York State and to the customers of Central and Western New York. Western Regional Off-Track Betting and Batavia Downs Gaming are perfectly positioned with existing infrastructure to deliver a sports-betting platform to our customers in our 15 counties including the cities of Buffalo and Rochester.

As the only municipally owned gaming facility in the state, Batavia Downs Gaming is not only a strong economic driver for Central and Western New York, but it provides critical funding for community development which creates jobs, keeps families safe and helps to offset tax increases for residents.

Since its inception, Batavia Downs Gaming has generated more than $226 million to 17 municipalities and bringing sports betting to our locations will significantly increase these important contributions.

 “Legislation to allow sports betting in New York State will help grow jobs in our brick and mortar locations through Western and Central New York, and will increase the significant community development contributions we provide to our municipalities,” said Henry F. Wojtaszek, president/CEO of Batavia Downs Gaming WROTB. “We are looking forward to working with New York State officials to enable legislation that will allow this dynamic opportunity to become a reality.”

“We have been preparing for this sports betting decision and we are confident we can get the product up and running quickly, smoothly and professionally,” said Michael Nolan, chief operation officer of Batavia Downs Gaming WROTB.

May 6, 2018 - 4:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, batavia, sports, kentucky derby.

bataviadownsderby2018.jpg

Justify won the Kentucky Derby, which seemed to please many race fans at Batavia Downs yesterday.

Below, Mary Foster and Alyssa Park, winners of the hat contest, with Henry Wojtaszek, Western OTB president, and Scott Kiedrowski, VP of operations.

bataviadownsderby2018-2.jpg

bataviadownsderby2018-3.jpg

bataviadownsderby2018-4.jpg

bataviadownsderby2018-5.jpg

bataviadownsderby2018-6.jpg

bataviadownsderby2018-7.jpg

bataviadownsderby2018-8.jpg

bataviadownsderby2018-9.jpg

bataviadownsderby2018-10.jpg

April 11, 2018 - 2:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

Batavia -- James E. Boyd, age 83, of Batavia, New York, died peacefully Thursday April 5, 2018 at the Northgate Health Care Facility in North Tonawanda.

Widely known as "Gentleman Jim," Boyd took over the Batavia Downs track announcing duties from the legendary Max Robinson in 1984 and continued to call races there until it closed in 1996. He was also the announcer at Buffalo Raceway and called races at Finger Lakes racetrack.

Boyd called the richest race ever held at Batavia Downs, the $268,756 Breeders Crown aged-mare trot in 1988 won by Armbro Flori and also Getting Personal’s 1:53.3 track record in 1993.

“Jim was known for a very steady voice and very accurate calls,” Todd Haight, director/GM of Racing at Batavia Downs said. “Even though it’s been over 20 years since his retirement, our old-timers still ask about him.”

Besides calling the races, Jim was also a salesman in the Buffalo area for many years.

Boyd was born in Batavia, the son of the late Harry S. and Marjorie (Price) Boyd and was also preceded in death by his wife Josephine (Nevin) Boyd and siblings, Raymond, Robert, Ronald "Don" and Harry "Jack" Boyd.

He was a graduate of Batavia High School and Alfred State College and served honorably in the Army during the Korean conflict. Upon returning home he became a member of the Glenn S. Loomis Post #332 of the American Legion in Batavia and rose to the position of Post Commander.

Boyd is survived by his beloved daughter, Deborah (William) Evans, of Nevada, dear friends, Paula (Frederick) Leigh, of Batavia, along with many nieces and nephews.

The family will be present from 10 - 11 a.m. Thursday, April 12, 2018 at the Michael S. Tomaszewski Funeral & Cremation Chapel LLC located at 4120 W. Main Street Road, Batavia, New York 14020 where his Funeral Services will be celebrated at 11 a.m. by Jim's nephew, Rev. David Boyd.

He will be lain to rest alongside his beloved wife in Grand View Cemetery with military honors. In lieu of flowers, memorials in his memory are suggested to Volunteers for Animals of Genesee County.

March 27, 2018 - 1:34pm

Press release:

The Genesee Community College Nursing Alumni Committee has established a new scholarship opportunity for future Nursing Program students to help mitigate financial obstacles to GCC student success.

The committee is excited to invite the entire community to kick off National Nurses Week at the Batavia Downs at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, May 4, for the premier of the Gatsby Gala to support the GCC Nursing Alumni Scholarship.

There are nearly three million nurses working in the United States today. It is a demanding and skilled profession oftentimes with intense emotion. GCC's Nursing Program produces qualified and skilled job candidates for the healthcare field each year. Now, under the direction of the Alumni Affairs Office, the Nursing Program Alumni are working hard to help ensure every qualified Nursing Program student can and will succeed.

The Gatsby Gala will include dinner and dancing for all and chances to win big with door prizes and a cash raffle! Tickets are only on sale until April 20 -- so contact the Alumni Affairs Office at [email protected] today.

You can also get your tickets and RSVP online at here. Tickets to the gala cost $100 per person and all proceeds go directly to the GCC Nursing Alumni Scholarship.

In addition to attending the Gatsby Gala, there are opportunities to sponsor the scholarship at a number of levels. The sponsorship opportunity detail is available here and includes commitments of $100 - $3,000 and includes In-kind Support for those wishing to customize their sponsorship. All sponsorship levels include a variety of benefits from free advertising to photos, and GCC Foundation recognition.

All sponsorships must be submitted by April 20 for full recognition. 

The Nursing Program Alumni committee includes:

  • Committee Chair -- Michelle Grohs, director of Surgical Services, Maternity and Women's Health at Wyoming County Community Health System;
  • Decoration Chair -- Heather Glosser, Warsaw Central School District School nurse and owner of Glosser Family Farms;
  • Food and Beverage Chair -- Susanne Roggow, Spectrum Human Services nurse;
  • Ticket Chair -- Stephanie Durfee, GCC Nursing Program instructor;
  • Hospitality Chair -- Laurel Sanger, GCC's director of Nursing Program;
  • Entertainment Chair -- Kelli Pease, WCJW radio personality and GCC Communications instructor;
  • Photography Chair -- Maureen Spindler, GCC's visual communications specialist and photographer;
  • Communications Chair and Event Emcee -- Scott Gardner, president of the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce;
  • Sponsor Chair -- Jennifer Wakefield, GCC's assistant director of Alumni Affairs. 

For more information, contact Assistant Director of Alumni Affairs Jennifer Wakefield at (585) 343-0055, ext. 6265, or via email at [email protected].

March 21, 2018 - 10:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, news, entertainment, batavia.

Press release:

Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel announced their onsite plans for the upcoming Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 5th. Three parties will take place on site.

The first party, running from 11:30 a.m. 'til 7 p.m., will take place in the Batavia Downs Gaming Paddock Room. It is the Downs’ most well-attended party with more than 600 attendees last year.

For $15, patrons receive their choice of a variety of meals, $15 in Free Play once one point is earned on the gaming floor, a $2 wager on the Derby, and a Free Derby program. There will be a $5 Mint Juleps special which includes a commemorative Derby glass and samplings from Black Button Distilling. Attendees must be at least 18 years of age. Many big-screen televisions will show the races and there will be mutual clerks available for wagers to be placed.

The second party, which is new, will take place in the Batavia Downs Gaming Grandstands Banquet Room on the second floor. Admission to the Derby Gala at the Downs is $50 per person and proper attire is required. Patrons will receive an open bar from 4:30 to 7 p.m., grazing stations, a $10 wager on the Derby, $25 in Free Play and a Free Derby Program. Attendees must be of legal drinking age to attend. There will also be televisions and mutual clerks for patrons to place wagers. A best-dressed contest and best hat contest will take place with prizes from the Hotel at Batavia Downs. Tickets will go on sale Wednesday, March 21, at 10 a.m. on Bataviaconcerts.com and at the Lucky Treasures Gift Shop.

The third party, taking place inside 34 Rush, will have Buffalo radio station WGR550AM broadcasting live from 2-5 p.m. Attendees must be at least 18 years of age. There will be a $5 Mint Julep special which includes a derby commemorative glass. Cider samplings will be provided by Official Derby Sponsor; Angry Orchard Rosé. A sampling of Corona beer will also be taking place for Cinco De Mayo. Patrons may place Derby wagers using self-service terminals.

Wagering will also be available at the second floor Downs Simulcast center. Prize Drawings for Derby T-shirts and glasses will take place there.

“It’s exciting to see that interest in the Kentucky Derby is alive and well in Western New York, “ said Todd Haight, general manager of Racing at Batavia Downs Gaming. “Our Paddock Room party has grown exponentially throughout the years and we expect that trend to continue this year.

"Our marketing department has put together a tremendous offer for our new Grandstands party. It’s a great way for our loyal customers to come out and enjoy the most exciting two minutes in sports.”

March 14, 2018 - 7:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, batavia, business.

Press release: 

The New York State Senate’s one-house budget resolution– approved earlier today– establishes tax parity between the Batavia Downs and other gaming facilities across the state. The Senate Budget proposal increases the facility’s portion of net winnings to 42 percent.

Senator Michael Ranzenhofer has issued the following statement:

“I am pleased that the Senate Budget Resolution levels the tax playing field for Batavia Downs. Decreasing the tax rate for the oldest nighttime harness track in the nation will ensure a fairer share of revenues are returned to taxpayers through our local governments. Now, the Genesee County racino will be more competitive with other gaming facilities. I will continue working to address this issue in the final budget.” 

In January, Senator Ranzenhofer introduced legislation (S7397) in the State Senate that would lower Batavia Down’s taxes paid to New York State by increasing the facility’s portion of net winnings from 35 percent to 41 percent. The Executive Budget proposes increasing net winnings to 37 percent.

March 13, 2018 - 2:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, entertainment, news.

Press release:

Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel has announced that Asia featuring John Payne is now headlining the July 20th show as part of Batavia Downs’ Rockin’ the Downs Summer Concert Series.

Asia featuring John Payne has been touring since 2008. Payne and his bandmates have been delighting audiences with live performances performing new classics and old favorites like "Only Time Will Tell" and "Heat of the Moment." Rumours – a Fleetwood Mac Tribute will still perform on that date as an opening act. All tickets already purchased will still be honored; purchasers do not need to get reprints of their tickets.

Tickets for this and the other seven concerts in the Rockin’ the Downs series are available at www.BataviaConcerts.com as well as at the Lucky Treasures Gift Shop inside Batavia Downs. Individual tickets to each concert will remain at $10 for General Admission while VIP tickets will again be $25. A “Season Pass” that includes a single ticket good for each concert for a discounted rate. Prices are $60 for General Admission and $150 for VIP.

“Asia featuring John Payne is a great addition to the summer concert series,” said Henry Wojtaszek, CEO/president at Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel. “Having Rumours play all of Fleetwood Mac’s hits as an opening act will give concertgoers a full evening of great music.”

Hotel room/ticket packages will be available for each concert. Purchase of a Hotel Room on the night of a concert using the code includes two VIP tickets to the show. Each concert ticket is also redeemable once at Player’s Club in the three days following the concert for $10 Free Play to be used on one of Batavia Downs Gaming’s 800+ gaming machines. Additional information may be found at www.BataviaDownsGaming.com.

March 9, 2018 - 12:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, Western OTB, batavia, business.

Press release:

Yesterday, Sen. John Bonacic (R-Mount Hope), the head of the New York Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee introduced legislation that would pave the way for sports betting, should the Supreme Court knock down the federal prohibition. 

Western Regional Off Track Betting and Batavia Downs Gaming are perfectly positioned with existing infrastructure to deliver a sports betting platform to our customers in our 15 counties including the cities of Buffalo and Rochester.

As the only municipally owned gaming facility in the state, Batavia Downs Gaming is not only a strong economic driver for Central and Western New York, but it provides critical funding for community development which creates jobs, keeps families safe and helps to offset tax increases for residents.

Since its inception, Batavia Downs Gaming has generated more than $226 million to 17 municipalities and bringing sports betting to our locations will significantly increase these important contributions.

“If we are able to offer sports betting to our customers, we would see more resources flowing directly to our bosses – the millions of New Yorkers who live in the Western Region Off Track Betting counties,” said Henry F. Wojtaszek, president/CEO of Batavia Downs Gaming WROTB. “We’d be able to deliver critical funds to help local law enforcement, first-responders, and help in the fight to keep property tax hikes at bay.

"We want to thank Sen. John Bonacic for his leadership on this important issue. Our delegation in Albany and Governor Cuomo has always stood by our side to get our fair share out of Albany, and we hope it’s no different with sports betting."

Michael Nolan Chief Operating Officer Batavia Downs Gaming/WROTB said: “Operationally with our brick and mortar locations, Batavia Downs Gaming and WROTBC is a natural affiliate to deliver sports wagering to residents of Western and Central New York as we have delivered parimutuel wagering since 1974."

February 21, 2018 - 4:37pm
Press release:
 
New York State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer (R-C-I, Amherst) announced today that the Executive Budget proposes a lower tax rate for Batavia Downs. The proposal would provide $1.4 million in tax relief.
 
“The Executive Budget Proposal (EBP) is a first step to leveling the tax playing field for Batavia Downs," Ranzenhofer said. "Lowering the tax rate will make the local facility more competitive and ensure a fairer share of dollars are returned to taxpayers through our local governments.
 
"I will continue to advocate for establishing tax parity between Batavia Downs and other gaming facilities across the state."
 
The Executive Budget also eliminates mandated spending levels of 10 percent for marketing expenses and 4 percent for capital improvements. Under existing state law, the oldest nighttime harness track in the country pays one of the highest effective tax rates among gaming centers in the region.
 
In January, Senator Ranzenhofer introduced legislation (S7397) in the State Senate that would lower Batavia Down’s taxes paid to New York State by increasing the facility’s portion of net winnings from 35 percent to 41 percent. If enacted, the act would take effect on April 1, 2019.
 
Gaming Operation
  • Batavia Downs  -- FY 2017-18: Portion of Net Winnings (percent) = 35

                                         EBP: Portion of Net Winnings (percent) = 37

  • Vernon Downs -- FY 2017-18: Portion of Net Winnings (percent) = 41

                                       EBP: Portion of New Winnings (percent) = 42

  • Hamburg Gaming -- FY 2017-18: Portion of Net Winnings (percent) = 41

                                            EBP: Portion of Net Winnings (percent) = 42

About Batavia Downs

Batavia Downs Gaming, operated by WROTB, is a standard bred racetrack and gaming facility. WROTB is a public benefit corporation – owned by 15 Western New York counties, including Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Oswego, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, and Wyoming, as well as the cities of Rochester and Buffalo. Since its inception, WROTB has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in operating and surcharge revenues to the residents of those participating municipalities.

February 15, 2018 - 1:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, music, arts, entertainment, news, notify.

bataviadownsfeb152018.jpg

Last summer's concert series is one of many reasons Batavia Downs has been able to grow revenue and remain competitive in a saturated gaming market, said Henry Wojtaszek, president of Western OTB, and Mike Nolan, CEO, today at a press conference announcing an eight-show lineup for this season.

"We offer a lot of different things," Nolan said. "We have our own little niche here."

Wojtaszek said the key is offering options for customers and when you get them in the door, treating them right.

"That includes entertainment, it includes better food, it includes a cigar lounge, and frankly, just provide the best customer service," Wojtaszek said. "We like to think that’s why we’re growing. That’s what we like to concentrate on. Our focus is on providing excellent customer service."

The eight shows announced for this summer:

  • Eddie Money, June 22
  • Grand Funk Railroad, June 29
  • Blue Oyster Cult, July 6
  • Rik Emmett of the Band Triumph along with Carl Dixon of Coney Hatch, July 13
  • Rumours, a Fleetwood Mac Tribute, July 20th
  • Puddle of Mudd, July 27
  • Three Dog Night, Aug. 3
  • Lee Ann Womack, Aug. 10.

Wojtaszek said the concert series went so well last year that Batavia Downs would like to add more shows, but one step at a time.

He also said Batavia Downs will be working with the City and the Town to accommodate larger crowds. Last year, attendance was about 4,000 and this year the casino would like to attract 5,000 to 6,000 fans to the shows.

The concentration on classic rock and country is a conscious effort to bring in shows more appealing to older music fans, Wojtaszek said.

"They are the patrons coming into Batavia Downs and we wanted to provide them with the entertainment they’re looking for at a reasonable cost," Wojtaszek said.

Tickets for the shows will be $10 each.

Batavia Downs is hosting several other events this year sure to bring people from throughout the region to Genesee County.

There will be professional wrestling Feb. 24, a Whiskyfest in June, a Mixed Martial Arts event during the summer, plus Batavia Downs is in the midst of a $4 million capital improvement project that includes opening a cigar lounge, expanding 34 Rush sports bar, Fortune's Restaurant, and the conference center.

"There’s a lot of demand to have things here and it’s amazing to see the response we get to the events we do have," Wojtaszek said. "It’s a perfect location, right between Buffalo and Rochester and we're even getting people here from as far as Syracuse."

Pages

Subscribe to

Calendar

S M T W T F S
 
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
 
14
 
15
 
16
 
17
 
18
 
19
 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
 
30
 
31
 
 
 

Copyright © 2008-2017 The Batavian. Some Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license.
Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

blue button