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March 16, 2012 - 12:51pm

Legislative deal may cut Batavia Downs out of New York's casino action

posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, Seneca Nation, Gambling.

It looks like Batavia Downs is a long shot to expand into a full-blown Vegas-style casino with table games and expanding gambling options.

The NYS Legislature took a big step yesterday toward opening up so-called racinos to more casino games, but capped the number of race tracks that can expand at seven.

Western Regional OTB board member Dick Siebert told WBTA that he's very concerned that Batavia Downs is being excluded from the expansion.

“Buffalo Raceway and Batavia Downs are the closest raceways to the Senecas' casinos (in Niagara Falls and Allegany), and they’re the ones putting the heat on the state,” Siebert points out. “So I’ve got a strange but very sound feeling that we’re the two being targeted.”

The seven target locations have not been disclosed.

The Senecas believe they have an exclusive lock on gambling in New York and the legislature may have caved to pressure from the Senecas by excluding Buffalo and Batavia from the expansion.

“They’re behind it,” Siebert said. “They’ve got money, and they’re throwing it around. They don’t want the competition. But not having Batavia Downs be a full casino hurts Western New York a lot more than what might happen to the Senecas.

“I’ll probably get myself in trouble to say it – but it’s the truth,” Siebert added.

Michael Kane, CEO of the Western Regional OTB remains hopeful, however.

“I don’t think it takes Batavia Downs out of the mix at all,” Kane says. “I think the number was just negotiated between the governor and the two houses.”

jason reese
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That would definitely hurt Batavia Downs Gaming if it's not included!

tom hunt
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Cut Batavia Downs and Buffalo Raceway out of the picture and factoring in that the slots are being pulled out of Fort Erie and Ontario Canada in starting to cut back on the Casinos in Niagara Falls in lieu of a new Toronto Casino, the Seneca Indians will have WNY to themselves.

Billie Owens
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I thought this was interesting...it's about how the gargantuan Foxwoods Resort Casino is in dire straits. It is owned by the Mashantucket-Pequot Indians.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/magazine/mike-sokolove-foxwood-casinos...

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