Western OTB banking on deal with FanDuel

ALBANY, N.Y. – Western Regional Off-Track Betting is hoping for state approval this week to start offering its customers incentives to enroll in FanDuel, the daily fantasy sports site.

After Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation last month to legalize the fantasy operations, Western OTB sought approval from the state Gaming Commission to enter a partnership with the company.

Western OTB, which also owns the Batavia Downs racetrack that has video-lottery terminals, plans to host tournaments and offer other benefits to customers who sign up with FanDuel.

"We’ll promote their business. They’ll promote our business, and the goal is to utilize FanDuel to draw more people into our facility and to provide tournaments for serious players," said Henry Wojtaszek, Western OTB's president.

If the Gaming Commission approves, the OTB can start offering rewards and tournaments for the NFL season this weekend.

Lee Park, a commission spokesman, said the application is under review, saying there are "a few procedural matters left to resolve."

OTB inked a four-year deal with FanDuel earlier this year as the company and its chief rival DraftKings battled New York regulators to operate in the state.

The state Legislature in June passed a bill to let daily fantasy sports contests to be conducted in New York.

OTB will receive $350,000 a year from FanDuel, as well as additional revenue based on how well the site performs through the partnership, OTB officials said.

The revenue derived from OTB is important to the municipalities in which it operates because it is a public-benefit corporation.

That means any annual profits from OTB goes to the 15 counties and two cities, Rochester and Buffalo, where it operates.

OTB has 27 branches that extend into Steuben County in the Southern Tier.

FanDuel said it was looking forward to its partnership with Western OTB.

If the state grants approval, FanDuel will have a website to sign up that is affiliated with Western OTB or through a promo code: 34RUSH -- which is associated with Buffalo Bills legend Thurman Thomas, who is promoting the effort in an ad campaign.

"FanDuel always looks for smart ways to partner with organizations that can be mutually beneficial to all parties, including our users," the Manhattan-based company said in a statement.

"With fantasy sports back in New York and football season kicking off this week, we are exploring how we can bring our partnership with Batavia to life."

 

 


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