A bill quietly introduced in the Legislature late yesterday would help the racetracks in Ontario and Genesee counties if the Seneca Nation of Indians moved forward with a Rochester-area casino.
The bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples, D-Buffalo, and Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, Niagara County, would provide tax parity with the Senecas for Batavia Downs and Finger Lakes if the tribe were to put a casino in Monroe, Orleans, Genesee, Livingston, Ontario or Wayne counties.
It would also give the two racinos some money to deal with the changes they will need to make after Gov. Andrew Cuomo reached an gaming exclusivity contract with the Senecas last week. The deal means the racinos can no longer be called casinos, and they have to limit the type of games they can offer. The deal also continues their gaming exclusivity in the Rochester area, and the Senecas have expressed interest in a Rochester casino in the past.
The racinos are hoping that at least a portion of the bill makes it into the final agreement that Cuomo is negotiating with legislative leaders to allow up to seven privately owned casinos in New York.
The bill “is there to help the western New York gaming facilities based on the negative impacts on the memorandum of understanding with the Seneca Nation,” said Michael Kane, president of Western Regional Off-Track Betting, which owns Batavia Downs. “Our hope is that when things are fully discussed that some of the items in Senator Maziarz’s bill will become law.”
Legislative leaders said they hoped to reach a final agreement on casinos with Cuomo today.
SEIU said it supports the bill.