The Orleans County Legislature has joined Genesee and Wyoming counties in supporting a casino for Batavia Downs, the racino that is the oldest nighttime harness track in the country.
“The counties which own Batavia Downs recognize the important dialogue that needs to take place in the next year concerning casino gaming and the inclusion of Batavia Downs as a full casino venue,” Western New York OTB, which owns the track, said in a statement.
Western OTB was criticized a decade ago when it bought the old track out of bankruptcy as the tracks pursued video-lottery terminals. But the decision has proved to be prophetic, as the tracks have had booming business since they started adding VLTs in 2004.
While some local communities may be leery of casinos in their communities, it appears the counties around Batavia Downs are all for it as an economic-development tool. For Western OTB, its profits are returned to the 15 counties and two cities, Rochester and Buffalo, in which it is located.
In a deal this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers agreed to seek up to seven casinos in the state, but didn’t say where they would be located.