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Gural to pursue gaming license for Tioga Downs, with backing from Traditions

NICHOLS, N.Y. — Jeffrey Gural, the owner of Tioga Downs Casino Racing & Entertainment, plans to pursue the fourth casino license that the New York State Gaming Commission has agreed to reconsider.

“I’m going to get this license. I’m not going to leave anything unturned,” Gural said in his comments during a Friday afternoon news conference at Tioga Downs in Nichols in Tioga County.

A CNYBJ reporter listened to the audio of the news conference through a conference call.

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“It’s all about jobs. This region needs jobs desperately,” said Gural.

Tioga Downs is prepared to hire 650 people within 12 months of securing a gaming license, Gural said.

“Most of those jobs would be within the next six months,” he added. 

The facility already employs between 300 and 500 people, depending on the season.

Tioga Downs had been competing with Traditions Resort and Casino in the town of Union for the Southern Tier license that the New York Gaming Facility Location Board instead awarded to the Lago Casino and Resort in Seneca County in the Finger Lakes area.

Gural and Tioga Downs held a news conference on Dec. 22 to announce that Traditions would back an expansion at Tioga Downs in pursuit of a gaming license that would benefit the Southern Tier.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Dec. 27 urged the New York State Gaming Commission to reopen the bidding for a gaming license in the Southern Tier.

“This guy is totally committed to this community,” Bill Walsh, owner of Traditions Resort and Casino, said about Jeff Gural in his remarks during Friday’s event.  “We’re glad to be on the team now.”

In his remarks, Gural said he also plans to add another $1 million annually to a fund that would help regional nonprofit organizations grow or expand their services.

Gural’s original proposal included a $500,000 annual commitment to the region’s nonprofit organizations.

The Southern Tier region includes Broome, Tioga, Tompkins, Chemung, Steuben, and Schuyler counties, he noted.    

He also plans to launch a fund that would annually have $500,000 available to benefit small businesses in the same six-county region.

The money would assist “anyone that can show us they could use a little financial help … that would enable them to hire people,” Gural said.

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