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March 26, 2020 - 1:09pm

WROTB to pay employees through April 11; eyes federal stimulus bill to recoup losses

posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Batavia Downs Gaming, Western Regional OTB.

The president and chief executive officer of Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. today said he will be exploring all avenues to recoup operating revenue lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re going to take whatever steps we can to make sure the corporation is made whole,” Henry Wojtaszek said today, following a teleconference board meeting at which directors unanimously voted to pay employees of the public benefit company that oversees Batavia Downs Gaming through the pay period ending April 11.

Wojtaszek and Comptroller Jacquelyne Leach reported that WROTB has significant cash reserves to meet the April 11 payroll requirements and said they will be talking to directors regarding compensation beyond that date.

“The cash reserves enable us to make sure the employees are taken care of and we’re hoping that the stimulus bill – working with the state and federal government – makes what is intended to happen actually happen,” Wojtaszek said.

Leach said that because WROTB has had a “such a strong year thus far, which is due to the work of our employees, we are in position (to pay them) in this time of hardship.”

During the meeting, it was reported that payroll expenses for the April 11 pay period were $512,000.

Batavia Downs has been closed since March 16 due to orders mandated by New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Wojtaszek said that security, surveillance and maintenance employees continue to work on a rotating basis, and that some staff members are working from home.

“Everyone is on call here,” he stated.

He said that while he is “trying to be as frugal as possible” during the shutdown, he did authorize $1,750 in advertising to promote Batavia Bets, the corporation’s online interactive wagering platform.

The board also voted to allocated $5,000 to sponsor for the second year the “GLOW with Your Hands” career exploration event for Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming county students exploring careers in Agriculture, Manufacturing, and Skilled Trades.

Wojtaszek said WROTB has paid about a quarter of the $250,000 contracted with the artists scheduled to perform during the 2020 Summer Concert Series, which is set to begin on June 19.

“The concert series is still a go, subject to the rules set by New York State,” he said, adding that if it were cancelled, WROTB would take legal action, if necessary, to receive reimbursement.

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