In celebration of its new hotel in Nichols, New York, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at Tioga Downs Casino Resort on Friday afternoon as media and guests were addressed by officials and Jeff Gural, owner, and chairman of American Racing and Entertainment LLC.

While on November 6, 2017, select floors were opened by the casino for the public to reserve rooms, the ceremony on Friday gave members of the press and guests the opportunity to tour the new hotel.

In his address to guests and media at the ceremony on Friday, Gural said, “We’re honored and humbled to have so many join us to celebrate this major milestone in the transformation of Tioga Downs into a full-service destination resort,” according to The Owego Pennysaver Press.

Gural said, “This is a real crowning achievement after so many obstacles were put in our place,” as reported by local news Fox 40 WICZ TV.

The first of four new upstate New York casinos to open and the last to gain licensing approval, the project at Tioga Downs Casino began on September 6, 2016. It was then that American Racing and Entertainment LLC, broke ground on the six-floor, 161-room hotel as part of the expansion to the Tioga Downs entertainment complex in the Southern Tier.

Located adjacent to the casino, the smoke-free hotel features meeting and event space, dining options, an arcade, indoor heated pool, outdoor family pool with water slides, spa, outdoor cabana pool and bar, fitness center and more.

The race track and electronic gambling hall was initially rejected for a Class III license in 2014; however, after Southern Tier officials were able to publicly pressure the state, the process was reopened the following year. Then on August 30, after a lengthy, mandated background check, the state Gaming Commission approved the license to allow the racetrack facility to offer full casino gaming.

Gural said, “I’m really proud of it, it’s beautiful and hopefully we’ll be able to accomplish our goal really, which is to make it a resort,” according to WICZ.

Also commenting on the expansion, Senator Fred Akshar reportedly said, “It’s about keeping taxes low for the residents of Tioga County and beyond. It’s about tourism dollars to our community.”

Officials expect that the new hotel will bring 150 to 200 new jobs to the area.

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