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Genesee County now becomes one of four to formally oppose a Seneca Nation casino proposal in Henrietta.

Legislators unanimously agreed that a Las-Vegas-style casino so close to Batavia Downs would negatively impact the facility and the region.

Dick Siebert, a Western Regional Off-Track Betting Board member, spoke on behalf of Batavia Downs.

“We (Genesee County) are the biggest ones to lose if this passes, no doubt about it” he told legislators over a more than 25 minute conversation on the subject. “We lose a lot of money on our branches and we make it up on the casinos so we have probably a $3 million overall profit. But if we lose whatever percentage – 40, 50, who knows? –with a big casino coming right next to us by the Senecas, we’re in trouble. Big trouble.”

Legislator Marianne Clattenburg, representing Wards 2 & 3 in the City of Batavia, says competition with an Indian-based casino could have a detrimental effect on the local economy.

“Our casino is a public benefit corporation and all the municipalities, specifically the city and the county have received a lot of tax money from the casino operations,” she said. “We feel that that could be jeopardized if a full-blown casino would be placed as close as Henrietta is.”

She says as the host communities for Batavia Downs, hundreds of thousands of dollars goes to the Town and City of Batavia and the county.

Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming Counties have also approved similar measures.

A compact reached last summer between the Senecas and the state gave them exclusive rights to casino operations in Western New York, which is why Batavia Downs can no longer call itself a “casino.”

Also at the Ways and means meeting, the legislature approved a resolution to deny the use of County insignia on any material concerning the SAFE Act.

The legislature formally called for the gun control law’s repeal a year ago. Now it’s joined the chorus in not using the county or sheriff’s seal or letterhead on any application for pistol permit recertification as part of the SAFE Act’s implementation.


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