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Seneca supervisors set to take legal action against state law over OTB

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

The Seneca County Board of Supervisors is poised to take legal action against a state law amendment that transfers the ownership of the Western Region Off-Track Betting Corporation (WROTB). Since its establishment in 1973, the WROTB had been co-owned by 15 counties, including Seneca County, alongside the cities of Buffalo and Rochester. However, the recent amendment to the New York State Racing, Pari-Mutual Wagering and Breeding Law, made as part of the 2023-24 state budget, hands control of the WROTB to Erie and Monroe counties and the cities of Buffalo and Rochester, excluding the original owners.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

On June 27, in response to this change, the Seneca County Board of Supervisors voted to instruct County Attorney David Ettman to initiate all necessary litigation to block the implementation and enforcement of the 2023 amendment. The state, the governor, the State Assembly, the State Senate, and any other relevant parties will be named in this lawsuit with the aim of safeguarding the interests of Seneca County’s residents.

The Board of Supervisors’ resolution argues that the Municipal Home Rule Law limits the State Legislature’s capacity to regulate the property, affairs, or government of any local government, such as the Board of Supervisors. It asserts that the necessary approval by two-thirds of the legislative body was not obtained for the change in WROTB ownership. The resolution also highlights the potential impact of this change on two gaming operations at Batavia Downs in Genesee County and the del Lago Resort & Casino in Seneca County.