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Casino opposition on agenda of Genesee lawmakers

BATAVIA – The Genesee County Legislature next month will add its voice to the growing chorus of counties opposing another Seneca Nation casino in the Rochester suburb of Henrietta.

The resolution says the competition would be disastrous for Batavia Downs Gaming and would affect the Finger Lakes thoroughbred racino. Both are about 35 miles from the Monroe County site.

The Senecas already operate three Las Vegas-style casinos in Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Salamanca. A pact with the state ensures them no opposition in the area west of state Route 14, which bisects the state from Geneva to Elmira.

The Batavia, Finger Lakes and Hamburg racing facilities operate video lottery terminals but are forbidden to have table games, including casino favorites such as blackjack and roulette.

The Batavia track is owned by Western Regional Off-Track Betting, and its profits go to 15 counties and the cities of Buffalo and Rochester, which own the public corporation.

Niagara is the latest county to oppose the Seneca bid, joining Orleans and Wyoming.

There are 14 casinos/racinos in the state. Five are owned by Indian nations, and the others are at racetracks.

According to OTB, another casino would have an “adverse effect on established gaming facilities that not only contribute money to the state education fund, but also to local agricultural economics.” It would hinder growth in local hotels, restaurants and other tourist amenities, OTB contends.

The Legislature’s next meeting will be Feb. 12.