“For far too long, Western Regional Off-Track Betting has operated without adequate oversight or transparency, flouting laws and refusing to provide documents when requested by governmental officials. For example, the organization continues to provide free health insurance to some board members despite it being contrary to law, at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars to taxpayers. The organization enters into contracts with elected officials, even though doing so is prohibited. Audits by the state comptroller in 2021 found multiple problems with recordkeeping and failure to adequately document expenditures. There is little question increased oversight of WROTB is warranted.
“I’m proud to have worked with my Western New York colleagues to get this change enacted. I want to thank Majority Leader Peoples-Stokes and Senator Kennedy for their work on the bill that forms the foundation for these changes. Under these budget provisions, the leadership of WROTB will be representative of the community that it serves - with votes of board members proportional to the population of residents within the area served by WROTB. The board member who represents the nearly 1 million residents of Erie County will now have 24 votes and the board member who represents the roughly 40,000 residents of Wyoming County will have one vote. This change will provide fair representation for those who live in the more populated counties as well as provide much-needed oversight and transparency to the board.”