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Big Batavia VLT opener

May 19, 2005

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Batavia Downs became the fourth harness track in New York State to operate a video lottery terminal (VLT) facility when the doors were opened on Wednesday, May 18. Approximately 5,000 people visited before the 2 a.m. closing.

"I kept thinking, 'Where did all these people come from?'" said Batavia Downs president Martin Basinait. "We had a great crowd right from the start. It exceeded all our projections by two or three times."

Basinait explained that people were waiting in the parking lot early in the morning and later lined up around the block before the doors were officially opened at 10 a.m.

"We even had a guy who has been to 480 or 490 casinos around the world - he's in the Guinness Book of World Records - and he came and tried out our place," he added.

Batavia spent $2 million to install the 586 machines which operate daily.

Harness Horse Breeders estimates that the raceway's machines could generate more than $400,000 annually for the New York Sire Stakes program.

Batavia Downs is set to open its 2005 harness racing meet on Aug. 3.

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