County legislators decry secrecy of possible casino in Rochester

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 June 2023 at 12:04 pm

ALBION – Orleans County legislators have passed a resolution criticizing Gov. Kathy Hochul over negotiating in secret with the Seneca Nation to possibly open a new casino in Rochester.

County legislators said such negotiations should include public comments and an impact analysis on existing casinos and gaming facilities.

Orleans is part of the Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. which operates Batavia Downs. A new casino in Rochester would likely have a negative impact on jobs at Batavia Downs and revenues to 15 counties as well as the cities of Rochester and Buffalo – all with membership stakes in Batavia Downs.

“The lack of transparency and closed-door manner in which this matter has been handled is not an acceptable way in which to conduct New York State affairs,” county legislators said in their resolution that was adopted on Tuesday.

The governor and the Seneca Nation are negotiating on renewing a Gaming Compact for the next 20 years. A Rochester casino hasn’t been approved, but many news reports say a Rochester site could be part of the new agreement.