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Betting On Our Seniors

17 March 2004

BUFFALO -- As reported by the Buffalo News: ``The region's latest gambling venture, Fairgrounds Gaming & Raceway, opens today at Buffalo Raceway, adding another 1,000 slot machines to a region that critics say is becoming saturated with casino gambling.

``More than two years after getting the state's permission, Buffalo Raceway becomes the area's first "racino" - a betting hybrid that features a harness track supplemented by a new gambling hall with electronic slot machines.

```Our hope is it's a terrific investment, a terrific venture,' said Dennis Lang, chief executive officer of the Erie County Agriculture Society.

``The society spent $8 million to reinvent the racetrack with a casino hall and its slot-like machines, and Lang expects a payoff of 8,000 to 10,000 people for today's opening.

``But with the new racino and the expected May opening of the nearby 2.5 million-square-foot Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort in Ontario, the Buffalo area is fast becoming the state's gambling epicenter.

``By spring, bettors will be able to choose from 11,000 slot machines within a half-hour's drive of Buffalo at three casinos and two racinos - and that's before the Seneca Nation builds another casino somewhere in Erie County in the next year or two.

``…Already, members at the Cheektowaga Senior Citizens Center are expressing interest in the Buffalo racino.

``…And in addition to the slots at the casinos in Niagara Falls, N.Y. and Ont., another harness track - Batavia Downs - is expected to open its own racino hall with slot-like machines later this year.

``That's one of the reasons the older, nearby seniors are expected to be the biggest players at the Hamburg racino…"

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