Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Last Casino From Our Honeymoon, Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack Is (Somewhat) A Winner!

The Good: Fun video slots, Safe, friendly atmosphere, Nonsmoking
The Bad: No real gimmicks/draws
The Basics: Worthwhile more from a lack of detractions (no smoke, generally good games) Finger Lakes Racino is more average and out-of-the-way than extraordinary.

There was, from a certain perspective, a real sense of irony to my recent wedding/honeymoon trip, which was that as my wife and I were making our love solid, certain and legal, we were taking chances at virtually every casino we could find from Niagara Falls, back to our home near Syracuse, New York. We had a lot of fun - for the most part - and the various casinos I've reviewed pretty much allows me to give visitors to Upstate New York a definitive travel guide to the casinos/racinos there. The final casino on our journey was the Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack, which is a clunky name for the Finger Lakes Racino (a racetrack and casino).

Finger Lakes has the distinction of being the gaming establishment where my partner and I had the most gaming fun of our trip, largely because she discovered the game "Neptune's Kingdom," fell in love with it and hit it for quite a bit over the course of an hour! Objectively viewed, though, the Finger Lakes Racino is more average than remarkable in any way. This, like most New York State gaming facilities, is simply a video slot machine casino attached to an already established racetrack. There is nothing extraordinary about Finder Lakes Gaming & Racetrack in terms of games, food, gimmicks . . . or anything. But, it is still fun to stop at when passing through Farmington.

Finger Lakes Casino: came in with $5.00, left with $70.00.


Finger Lakes Racino is a mid-sized casino located off Route 96 in Farmington, New York. This is about thirty minutes East of Rochester, New York and it is precisely near . . . nothing at all. Farmington is rural New York and there is nothing of note in this area, save the Racino. There are no signs for the Racino, though it is prominently lit at night, if one visits in the evening. Exit 43 off the New York State Thruway puts one near the Racino and that is the easiest way - outside simply taking route 96 out of Rochester - for visitors to reach it from the west or the east. On-line mapping programs like MapQuest tend to have the proper location for the Finger Lakes Casino, which is properly 5857 Route 96, Farmington, NY (14425).

Finger Lakes Racino has an extensive parking area near the casino and that accommodates the casino and race track. There is parking for at least two thousand vehicles, so even on busy days there are places to park, even if one has to walk a bit.


The Finger Lakes Casino is a large casino run by the state of New York (the same group that runs our lottery). The casino is big for Upstate casinos, though small for those who are used to the majesty of Las Vegas casinos. The casino is contained to a single floor of a single building. All of the ceilings are high, all of the carpets are clean and the place feels like one massive arcade, even in the middle of the day. The lighting is rather dark at all hours of the day so it feels like a movie theater in some ways. Outside the lighting, Finger Lakes Racino is spaced and dressed up like a hotel lobby. The gaming floor is big and situated with a large number of video slot machines headed in different directions to make traveling through them difficult; no matter how fast you want to get through this casino, you'll be obstructed by a bank of video slot machines if you keep moving forward.

Finger Lakes Racino is a no smoking facility, so there is no problem with the atmosphere here. Instead, it is easy to breathe easy here. The air is clean, even if the place is kept dark. It is pretty wonderful to sit down at a machine and not have cigar smoke next to you.

As for the "atmosphere" of the Finger Lakes Racino, servers walk around offering drinks dressed in very casual clothes; a black shirt and slacks. There are no flashy costumes and all of the gate workers (cashier's and player's club personnel) wear tuxedo shirts and slacks. The lack of flash only adds to the idea that Finger Lakes Racino is a fairly bland casino.

Gaming Options/Player's Club

I have a very simple gambling philosophy: I sit down at a slot machine with $5.00. I work it up to $10 or down to zero. I know my limits: I can afford to lose $5.00. So, when I am above that, I'll usually work it up or whittle it down to the next even $5.00. As the last gambling stop on our honeymoon, my partner and I came in with only a little money to gamble. Essentially what happened was I started with $2.00, she started with $3.00. I turned my $2.00 into $10.00 and she went out on her three bucks. Armed with five dollars each, then, I went out pretty quickly and she turned her five dollars into a little over seventy dollars. We work well as a team!

I tend to like the video slot machines that are more girly themed or video game-like. Finger Lakes Racino had a very standard selection of video slot machines, though very few of them were the cutting edge ones. It was here, though, that my partner discovered "Neptune's Kingdom," which has a very cool wild reel and a bonus game that she does remarkably well on, so she had a lot of fun playing at that for hours. The New York State racinos seem to have a pretty uniform selection of games, like "Alien," "Antique Hunter," "Temptations of the Sea," "Little Green Men Family Reunion," "Mystic Mermaid," "Lucky Leprechaun," "Lotus Flower," "Enchanted Unicorn," "Clara T," "Wheel Of Fortune," and "Milk Money," as well as several progressives. The Finger Lakes Casino has a decent selection of video slot machines, but very few of each one. Given that there are over two thousand video slot machines at Finger Lakes Racino, it is odd that there were so few of some of the more popular video slots, though every machine I saw had versions in penny and two cent machines.

For those who might be into games of chance and card games instead of video slot machines, you're out of luck at Finger Lakes Racino, unless you like betting on horse races. This is a video slot machine depot and horse betting place, nothing more (in terms of gambling).

There is a player's club at the Finger Lakes Racino. It is the Player's Extra club and signing up is free and easy. Signing up grants one nothing on general principle. However, we visited it on Easter and based on the color of the Peeps candy we selected, we received a multiplier for our points for the day. This was not as exciting as, say, free play or cash.

Points are accrued on the card by playing the video slots based on how much one bets. I've never found anything I could afford to buy with the points, but given the fact that my partner is on a winning streak there, odds are we'll continue to accrue points.

Entertainment Options

The Finger Lakes Casino underplays entertainment and while they have music for the senior citizens regularly, hipper acts are few and far between. In fact, I've not seen any bands advertised that I have ever heard of. More of the non-gambling entertainment is geared around Country music and horse racing.

Dining Options

Finger Lakes Racino has a buffet, but we've not yet tested it. Still, peeking in it looks to be fairly average buffet cuisine with a cutting station. Given that we've recently received a mailing from the racino offering us a discounted buffet, we are likely to give it a try soon (I'll update accordingly!). Outside the buffet, there is a steakhouse which is still pretty casual.

Shopping Options

Finger Lakes Casino is not trading so much on shopping. There is a little alcove for cashing in points. There is a single case of electronics, games and appliances that one may cash points in for and there was nothing my partner or I had points enough for. This is not a shopping-experience casino.


Finger Lakes Casino is worth stopping at if one finds themselves in the neighborhood of Farmington, but it is not worth making the special trip for. The lack of a gimmick to get people in and the lack of flash once there is disappointing and likely to leave those with gambling standards with an underwhelmed feeling. Still, the slots have been pretty loose there . . .

For other casino reviews, please check out my takes on:
Batavia Downs Casino
Casino Niagara
Railroad Pass Casino


For other travel reviews, please be sure to visit my Travel Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2012, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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