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Employees of the Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. have overwhelmingly approved a new contract that raises wages, improves benefits and provides a bonus for lottery ticket sales.

The three-year agreement calls for a 3 percent wage hike in each of the first two years, followed by a 3.5 percent raise in the third year. As a result, average hourly wages will increase from the current $9.99 to $10.97 during the life of the contract

The pact affects 270 OTB ticket machine operators, clerks and maintenance personnel, all of whom are represented by Local 200-C of the Service Employees International Union.

The workers also will receive more personal time and new choices of medical insurance. Full-time personnel will continue to receive employee-paid coverage, according to Deana Fox, the union's business manager.

The Service Employees also represent OTB's supervisory employees, whose contract expires in January.

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