Representatives for the proposal for re-configuring the Tioga Downs Casino & Racing in Nichols, New York into a fully functioning casino will make their presentation before the state Gaming Facility Location Board this month.
On September 10 the presentation will take place in New York City at which time board members will be allowed to offer questions, while community members will be provided with the same opportunity on September 18 at a special public hearing scheduled to take place at SUNY Broome in Binghamton.
Tioga Downs Casino & Racing currently offers seasonal harness racing events and video lottery terminals, similar to traditional slots, and is owned by Jeff Gural and his company American Racing and Entertainment.
The Tioga County, New York gambling property was the lone applicant for the fourth casino license in Upstate New York after the application process was re-opened by the New York Gaming Facility Location Board earlier this year. However, the bidding process doesn’t guarantee that a fourth license will be awarded, a fact indicated by board members.
Gaming tables and slot machines could be added to the Tioga Downs venue, among other upgrades, if the state Gaming Facility Location Board backs the proposal. It is expected that the board’s recommendation will be submitted to the New York Gaming Commission by year’s end.
It’s been almost a year since three counties in upstate New York were selected by the New York State Gaming Location Board as sites for Las Vegas-style casinos and of the three, the Lago Resort & Casino in Tyre, Seneca County was the preferred applicant in the Southern Tier region. At that time licensure was limited to three competing regions as per the board.
Complaints from community members, Nichols officials and Gural inundated the board when the decision to choose the $425 million Lago Resort & Casino proposal over Tioga Downs was made. Due to opponents’ arguments that the region has been deprived the opportunity to secure economic aid to the area, a recommendation was made by Governor Cuomo that the possibility of awarding a fourth casino license be considered by the state gambling regulator.
Subsequently, the Gaming Facility Location Board re-launched the bidding process for a Southern Tier region casino at the urging of the governor and officials of the region.