Finger Lakes Ready to Open VLT Operation
by Tom Precious
Date Posted: 2/18/2004 8:25:07 AM
Last Updated: 2/18/2004 2:19:11 PM

Finger Lakes in upstate New York will open its video lottery terminal parlor Feb. 18 to become the second racino to begin operation in the past month under a 2001 state law.

Renamed Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack, the facility houses 1,101 VLTs on 28,000 square feet of gaming space. The track is owned by Delaware North, the Buffalo, N.Y.-based firm that also has management contracts to run the VLT operations at Saratoga Gaming and Raceway, which opened three weeks ago, and at Buffalo Raceway, which is due to open in a month or so.

Finger Lakes expects more than one million visitors this year, track president Chris Riegle said. "This transformation will help in once again making Finger Lakes a major entertainment destination in this region," Riegle said.

The $10.4-million VLT facility, which will employ 230 workers, features VLTs that take bets from five cents to $10. The program is being run by the state Lottery Division. The opening comes as a state appellate court is expected to rule any day on a lawsuit brought by business, civic, and religious groups challenging the constitutionality of the VLT law, as well as six Indian-owned casinos.

The track estimates purses will rise 35% this year as a result of gaming revenue. Under the law, 7.5% of gross revenue will go to purses.

The opening comes as state lawmakers are considering a plan by Gov. George Pataki to permit private companies to bid on eight VLT franchises around the state. They would go head-to-head with the eight New York racetracks awarded VLT rights.

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