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American Racing & Entertainment sells Tioga Downs real-estate assets

By Traci DeLore (


American Racing & Entertainment (ARE) has sold the real-estate assets of Tioga Downs Casino Resort to Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. for $175 million. ARE will continue to operate the venue. Photo credit: Tioga Downs/CNYBJ file photo

NICHOLS, N.Y. — Tioga Downs Casino Resort owner American Racing & Entertainment LLC (ARE) has sold the real-estate assets of the racing and gaming venue to Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc., (NASDAQ: GLPI) for $175 million, ARE announced.

GLPI is a real estate-investment trust focused on passively owning real-estate property leased to gaming operators. Following the closing of the transaction, ARE will lease the real-estate assets of Tioga Downs from GLPI.

ARE maintains full control of the operations of Tioga Downs and states there will be no changes to employment or the customer experience.

“It’s business as usual at Tioga Downs,” ARE CEO Jeff Gural said in a news release. “My team and I remain committed to our customers, employees, and community. This transaction represents a form of financing to support the needs of the company. I will still be leading the management team, and we will continue to provide the same level of customer service that Tioga Downs is known for.”

Innovation Capital LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor and Duane Morris LLP served as legal counsel to ARE. Citizens JMP Securities acted as financial advisor and Goodwin Proctor LLP and Ballard Spahr LLP were legal counsel to GLPI.

“We’ve always operated Tioga Downs as a family business and believe our customers like that,” Gural said. “My family and I are committed to being active in this business for a long time with my son, Eric, playing a role beside me. My mother was from Binghamton, and I have fond memories of visiting her family during the holidays. I thank the community for its continued support, and as Tioga Downs grows in success, I plan to continue sharing such success with the community. As an example, we’ve recently increased our support to the local nonprofits to $2 million a year.”

Founded in 2005, American Racing & Entertainment operates both Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs Casino Hotel in Oneida County. Tioga Downs offers an array of slot and table games, a 160-room hotel, seven food and beverage venues, live harness racing, a sports book, a golf course, and 13,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor event space. ARE purchased Vernon Downs in 2006 where it operates video-gaming machines, a 150-room hotel, five food and beverage venues, live harness racing, and an 8,600-square-foot event center.