Jan 21, 2019
BATAVIA — There may be an increase in the revenue Western Regional Off-Track Betting (WROTB) keeps in vendor’s fees, leading to more money given to the counties and cities in which it operates, a WROTB official said Thursday.
WROTB President and CEO Henry Wojtaszek said Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed budget includes an increase. The deadline for passing a budget is April 1.
“We are in the governor’s budget, regarding vending fees. It has been increased to 51 percent from 35 percent,” Wojtaszek said. However, when costs and other factors are considered, the net increase in vendor fee revenue for WROTB is about 2 percent, he said.
Wojtaszek said WROTB appreciates being included in Cuomo’s proposed budget.
“In the budget that’s proposed, it would allow us to return more money to the 15 counties and two cities that own us,” Wojtaszek said. “We certainly hope it (the proposed fee increase) stays in effect until the budget is passed. It’s basically a 2 percent increase, which would be about $1 million.
“This is one of the first times we’ve been included,” he said. “We’re certainly going to be working with our state leaders to address the issuing.”
Wojtaszek said del Lago Resort & Casino, Rivers Casino & Resort, Tioga Downs Casino Resort and Resorts World Catskills will likely have sports betting after the state Gaming Commission meets and sets regulations on it.
“It’s anticipated that they will have sports betting soon on-site,” he said. This will not include online and mobile sports betting, Wojtaszek said.
“There’s some legislation in that would affect the Off-Track Betting and the racinos (including Batavia Downs),” Wojtaszek said. “It’s been proposed. It may require a constitutional amendment. We’ll see how this legislative session plays out.”
WROTB board member Edward Morgan, during the Batavia Downs Committee report, said the committee discussed ongoing capital projects.
“Gatsby’s Bar is going to be hopefully open by Feb. 8. The outside work at Fortune’s Restaurant and 34 Rush should be done by the end of the week,” he said, adding that inside work and window installation will take place.
Ryan Hasenauer, Batavia Downs director of marketing said the public is invited to the grand opening, scheduled for the afternoon of Feb. 8.
“We’re going to be doing some giveaways and some other fun things. There will be drink specials as well,” he said.
At Thursday’s meeting, the board also voted on a chairman and vice chairman for the year. Richard Bianchi was re-elected chairman and Phil Barnes as vice chairman.
“I’ve been with Richard since the beginning,” board member Thomas Wamp said of his and Bianchi’s time on the board. “We did have some dissension in the early years, but the board has really come together since then.”
Bianchi said he remembers when there were 500 machines at Batavia Downs and they were located upstairs.
“Batavia Downs has come a long way,” he said.