The Genesee County Legislature voted unanimously this week to tell the state it opposes any plan to merge regional Off-Track Betting Corporations into one state authority, a potential "cash cow" for a state with increasing budget shortfalls.
The legislators were warned that the loss of Western Regional OTB, whose operations extend to 15 counties and the cities of Buffalo and Rochester as well as being the owner and operator of the Batavia Downs Casino, "would negatively affect Genesee County."
As one of the counties served by WROTB and site of its headquarters, the Legislature said "it could not and will not support any recommendations by the Task Force on the future of Off-Track Betting that would put in jeopardy the financial and operational relationship between the county and WROTB."
The commission appointed by the governor is to "investigate and make recommendations as to the efficiency of these regional corporations and consider their consolidation under one authority.
Genesee has two losses at stake. The county has received $11.6 million since WROTB was formed in 1974. It is also the site of the Batavia Downs Casino, whose 600 video lottery terminals have produced higher than expected profits for OTB's 17 partners.
In an unusual but little-known development, the county is also a part-owner of the track because of an investment of $17,794 at OTB's birth, an amount that today is worth nearly $1.3 million or about 2.16 percent of the Downs' estimated $58 million value.