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Competitors Coming Out Against Seneca's Casino Plans

The opponents are lining up against the proposed casino in Henrietta. One of them is a landmark racetrack.
The opponents are lining up against the proposed casino in Henrietta. One of them is a landmark racetrack.

Batavia Downs says they cannot compete against the Seneca Nation. While they do no believe their racetrack will close, jobs are in jeopardy. Greg Caryk is a familiar face at Batavia Downs and although the racetrack is in his backyard, he is still excited about the possibility of a casino in Henrietta.

"Just to do something and usually lose money; that's about it," he said.

Ryan Hasenauer is the Director of Marketing at Batavia Downs. He says a casino in Henrietta would be a loss for the town and those who live there.

"The market is saturated. We've got a couple in Syracuse. We've got one in the Rochester area down in Farmington. You got us here in Batavia. You got four or five out in Buffalo [and] Niagara Falls. The reigion is saturated when it comes to gaming," he said.

The Senecas do not have to pay sales tax or abide by state of federal labor laws. Hasenauer says this alone creates an uneven playing field for area racetracks.

"We here at Batavia Downs are a public benefit corporation. The money that we take in; net expenses at the end of each quarter goes back tot he 17 municipalities that own us, the cities of Buffalo and Rochester and all the neighboring counties," he said.

But with the Seneca Nation potentially moving in, Hasenauer says less money will go back into the community.

"What is in jeopardy is how much money can go back to the folks here in New York State. We're giving away each and every day at 10 a.m. Half of the previous day's net win goes to the New York State Lottery for New York State education. [During the] calendar year 2013, $23 million from this place," he said.

Although it sounds like a big gamble for a casino in Henrietta, the Senecas claim a casino, hotel and restaurants will create 5,000 jobs, attracting three and a half million visitors each year.

"I think it will be good. It's going to be good for the community, for us and for everyone else," Greg Caryk said. 
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