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Record earnings at Batavia Downs Gaming lead to employee raises, community financial benefits

By Mike Pettinella

The Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. board of directors, acknowledging the continued record earnings at Batavia Downs Gaming, today approved raises of 3 ½ percent for its non-union employees, effective Jan. 1, 2022.

Non-union employees, about 120 of them, include senior management, supervisors and department heads, said WROTB President Henry Wojtaszek following the board’s monthly meeting at the Park Road facility.

Last month, management and the union agreed to raises and bonuses for union workers.

Director Dennis Bassett, representing the City of Rochester, commended the senior leadership team for a successful 2021 thus far.

“Coming out of the pandemic, it was a long hard fight,” he said. “There are people that care about us and people who want to make headlines that don’t care about us. So, we thank you.”

Genesee County Director Richard Siebert, speaking after the meeting, said he is in full support of the salary increase.

“If you look back over the last 18 months or so, with the pandemic and everything, we were in trouble and worrying about staying in business, to be honest about it,” Siebert said. “We had to let a lot of people go – we asked for help. But the fact that where we are now, setting records, when just a few months ago we were down on our backs, it’s just a credit to the leadership.”

Siebert reiterated a previous public statement that this is the best management team he has seen in his 27 years on the board.

“Obviously, we’re doing good in the community, we’re good neighbors and we’re making money for our county (and other participating counties) and we’re providing jobs for the local people.”

According to figures provided by Chief Financial Officer Jacquelyn Leach, Batavia Downs Gaming earned $668,000 in October – a record month. That is up significantly from the $192,000 in October 2019, which at that time was considered a highwater mark.

Leach also said that the corporation will distribute $68,120 in surcharge for October, the first leg of the fiscal year’s fourth quarter. Third quarter earnings of $2.5 million also were a record, something that was reported on The Batavian in late October.

Thus far in 2021, about $4.5 million in earnings and surcharge has been distributed WROTB’s 17 municipalities.

In her operating plan for 2022, Leach projects revenues of $4.8 million in earnings and another 886,000 in surcharge.

On other fronts:

  • Wojtaszek said that some preparatory work on the Park Road Reconstruction Project is taking place, noting that crews are at the corner of Lewiston Road today.

“They’ve got some equipment lined up, and as soon as they get the pipe in, they will work on putting that in and then we will begin the process of beautifying the road,” he said.

Supply chain issues have resulted in the project being pushed back until spring, Batavia Town Assistant Engineer Tom Lichtenthal said last month.

When construction does start in earnest, Wojtaszek said his team is hoping to work with other businesses along the road to help mitigate any traffic issues.

“There were some good suggestions made by the board yesterday. Some of them are to go to some of the various businesses and see if we can work with them on the parking that they have, instead of having everybody come down in the middle of Park Road,” he offered.

  • Pepsi-Cola has signed on as the 2022 Rockin’ the Downs Concert Series “name sponsor,” a $40,000 investment that, according to Wojtaszek, is “raising the level of the performers.”

The Batavian ran a video and story on the concert lineup on Wednesday.

Additionally, Rochester Regional Health, locally represented by United Memorial Medical Center, will become a sponsor.

“We want to partner with them on various health care initiatives,” Wojtaszek said, mentioning the corporation’s participation in a wellness points program.

Marketing Director Ryan Hasenauer said the RRH logo will be placed on all hand sanitizers at Batavia Downs Gaming.

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