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A parish from Orchard Park sent two busloads of senior citizens.

Some drove over with friends.

There were married couples, and singles, young and old.

And mostly they came from Erie County.

More than 1,200 people stood in the hot sunshine outside Fort Erie Race Track Saturday morning, waiting patiently for the chance to take a chance.

The official first day for the track's casino slot machines opened to brisk business as the crowd happily fanned out through the brightly lighted casino to arm-wrestle with the slot machines at a quarter a chance.

And since it was the first time open to the general public, many weren't exactly sure of what to expect.

"I just walked in, and I think it's great," Pierrette Blouin said.

"It looks beautiful," Felicia Hughes said. She was joined by Jean Morrison and two busloads of senior citizens from Our Lady of the Sacred Heart parish in Orchard Park. "We're going to try it out."

Like many of those in attendance, the group felt Buffalo could use a casino.

"They definitely should have one in Buffalo," Ms. Hughes said.

Ralph and Elizabeth Dichiara of Buffalo agreed.

"This is what we need in Buffalo," Dichiara said. He said Saturday was their first day "to leave a little money here like we do at the casino." Dichiara said he and his wife save up enough money to go for the day.

"We're not heavy gamblers," he said. "It's not a habit; it's relaxation."

Lawrence Kalinka of Hamburg was reserving judgment.

"I haven't made up my mind," he said. "I want to see the money flow. This is a first time."

When asked about having casino gambling in Buffalo, Kalinka said he had some concerns.

"I have no idea how it's going to affect the people," he said. "Some spend all their money on gambling instead of putting it on the grocery bill."

Unlike casinos in Las Vegas and elsewhere, free liquor is not provided for the patrons as they gamble, since it is against the law in Ontario to do so.

Getting to the slot machines wasn't a problem, either. An official with the Peace Bridge Authority said traffic moved smoothly all day, with no delays. The 1,200 machine facility, operated by the provincial government's Ontario Lottery Corp., opened September 9 with a VIP reception. The general public was admitted for the first time Saturday.

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