ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC)— Local gambling businesses are beginning to weigh in on the Seneca Nation’s gaming compact, adding to numerous statements and comments from lawmakers and officials.
The Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack released a statement Monday, asking the state assembly to intervene on the deal:
“Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack has long been a vital economic contributor in the Rochester region by employing over 1,500 local residents and supporting the region’s agricultural and equine economies through racing. The state’s video lottery terminal (VLT) gaming venues contribute a far greater percentage of their revenue to the state than the Seneca casinos, meaning the demise of the Finger Lakes venue at the hands of a Rochester-area Seneca casino would cost the state tens of millions of dollars in revenue and the regional economy thousands of jobs.“
Also on Monday, Western Regional Off-Track Betting (OTB) did the same, noting the already over-saturated market with “already ten gaming facilities less than 100 miles in any direction from Rochester.”
Another concern voiced in the statement from Western Regional OTB concerned state taxes:
“The three VLT facilities (Batavia Downs, Finger Lakes Gaming, and Hamburg Gaming) paid $140 Million dollars in combined taxes to New York State last year, that is more than the Senecas did. What is the point of putting yet another facility in the region?”
Henry Wojtaszek, CEO & President of Western Regional OTB, also noted the impact this could have on the local gaming and racetrack in Batavia in his statement.
“Many of the more than 400 jobs here at Batavia Downs would be in jeopardy if a Rochester area casino opened, and the millions of dollars in revenue we send to 15 counties and the cities of Buffalo and Rochester would be drastically cut,” said Wojtaszek.
According to the statement from Western Regional OTB, there have already been two failed attempts to open a casino in the Rochester area, and “No major decision like this should ever be made without robust public input and a comprehensive economic impact analysis.”