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Western Regional Off-Track Betting has set a new timetable for the long-delayed introduction of video lottery terminals at Batavia Downs, the harness racing track owned by the quasi-public operation.

With financing of $2.2 million in place and an engineering firm from Livingston County hired for renovations, OTB hopes within the next month to receive bids and award contracts.

Construction could start in mid-December, with a March 15, 2005, opening now planned.

With about 600 VLTs in a second-floor former betting row, the devices, which are like slot machines, will enable Batavia Downs to resume a race meet in August.

OTB canceled the 2004 season, citing a loss of millions of dollars in race meets from the previous two years. In 1998, the track was purchased by Batavia-based OTB, which spent an estimated $8 million in improvements and renovations.

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