Finger Lakes Officially State's First Thoroughbred Racino
by Blood-Horse Staff
Date Posted: 2/19/2004 8:24:56 AM
Last Updated: 2/19/2004 2:06:55 PM

Patrons waited more than two hours to enter Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack Feb. 18 for the opening of the track's video lottery terminal parlor. The scene was reminiscent of one that played out a few weeks earlier when Saratoga Gaming and Raceway became New York's first operating racino.

The doors to the VLT parlor opened at 10 a.m. EST. Track officials said there were about 1,000 people waiting to enter.

"The response has been tremendous," Finger Lakes president and general manager Chris Riegle said. "Today marks the beginning of an exciting new era for Finger Lakes."

Finger Lakes is the state's first Thoroughbred track to offer VLTs. A projected purse increase of 35% will push daily average purses over the $100,000 mark for the upcoming racing season.

Aqueduct, operated by the New York Racing Association, is the only other Thoroughbred track in the state approved for VLTs. MGM Mirage, the casino company that partnered with NYRA on the project, is reportedly ready to commence work on the parlor.

Delaware North, the track's owner, spent about $10.5 million to renovate the first floor of the grandstand at the track that opened in 1963. The VLT parlor at the track, located southeast of Rochester, has a winery decor given the region's many wineries.

Delaware North operates the VLTs at Saratoga, and will do so at Buffalo Raceway in western New York.

New York state earns 71% of gross revenue from the machines. Finger Lakes will get 20.24%, and horsemen 7.51%.

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