More than $90,000 in surcharges generated through September gaming activities of the Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation will be distributed to the public benefit company’s 15 counties plus the cities of Rochester and Buffalo.
WROTB Chief Financial Officer Jacquelyne Leach today reported that $92,162 in surcharges for last month, topping the $91,604 achieved in August.
“The latest figure is up over $18,000 from September of 2019, which shows how well the pari-mutuel horse racing wagering is doing,” she said, following the monthly board of directors’ meeting at Batavia Downs Gaming on Park Road.
Leach said that there will be no third-quarter earnings’ distribution as Batavia Downs Gaming was shut down in July and August, but did report operational earnings of $189,000 for September.
Batavia Bets is Up Considerably
On the OTB side, Sean Schiano, director of branch operations, said that Batavia Bets continues to thrive with wagering handle increases of 95 percent and 110 percent in September and October, respectively.
With help from the Kentucky Derby, betting via the interactive online and telephone wagering platform was up $912,000 in September and, with help from the Preakness Stakes, wagering this month is up $612,000 through Sunday.
Schiano said Batavia Bets is up $2.9 million – 29 percent – this year as compared to the same time period in 2019.
Directors passed about a dozen resolutions this morning, including advertising buys for direct mail services through Applied Business Systems, licensing rights to show select Ultimate Fighting Championship wrestling and boxing, production costs for television and radio commercials, print ads in the Genesee Valley Penny Saver and digital media marketing on Facebook and Instagram.
Marketing Director Touts 'Pop-Up Shop'
Marketing Director Ryan Hasenauer said Batavia Downs Gaming has televised UFC fights at its 34 Rush sports bar for the past two or three years, but indicated that if 34 Rush doesn’t open (due to the COVID-19 restrictions), they corporation won’t purchase the licensing rights.
Hasenauer said promotions at Batavia Downs Gaming are limited due to state mandates as attendance is capped at 50 per room and live performances are not allowed inside a casino.
“So, we can’t have incidental music, we can’t have a comedian, a psychic or anything where someone is performing,” he said. “But what we can do is we can host vendor shows – we have the vendor show out on the track – and we’re going to be doing something called the 'Pop-Up Shop', where we allow one vendor to be in the Park Place room downstairs and sell whatever they’re selling.”
He said "Pop-Up Shop" vendors will have exclusive rights in that area for a period of time.
“It’s a nice way for businesses in the community to take advantage of our power, our ability to draw people to the facility,” he said, adding that local vendors already are calling to reserve dates, which will be promoted on Facebook.
Other resolutions passed pertained to custodial supplies, track resurfacing costs, diesel fuel and gasoline, dumpster service and building repair items through various vendors.
The board also extended a contract with New Wave Energy Corp. of Buffalo for electric and natural gas for two more years, and announced it had a buyer for the corporation’s former OTB location in Hornell.
GoFundMe for Farewell Family at $28,000
On another front, WROTB President Henry Wojtaszek expressed the corporation’s sympathy for the family of employee Jeff Farewell, supervisor of environmental services, on the death of his daughter, Cheyenne, 20, who was shot and killed on Saturday at a Halloween party in Lockport.
“Obviously the family is devastated and we’re devastated for them. She is a beautiful, young girl, a soccer player and a cheerleader,” he said.
He mentioned that Batavia Downs has set up a GoFundMe page for Cheyenne, who was a student at Brockport State College. The fund has raised more than $28,000 for the family, exceeding its goal of $20,000.
“Jeff is a great employee and I really want to extend thanks to all the employees who have stepped up to help Jeff and his family, and we will continue to do so for the next couple months,” he said.