Permission has been granted for the first time ever in New York for an off-track betting corporation to run a racetrack. After years of battling industry opposition and eventually paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to make the critics go away, Western Regional Off Track Betting Corp. was given approval by state regulators Feb. 27 to reopen Batavia Downs.
Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp., which controls wagering in a huge, 15-county region in upstate New York, will be allowed to run harness races at Batavia Downs, which is located east of Buffalo. It is the first time an OTB corporation, which in New York are quasi-public agencies, will be permitted to operate a racetrack. Gov. George Pataki must sign the legislation.