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State panel selects Tioga Downs for final casino-gaming license

NICHOLS, N.Y. — The New York Gaming Facility Location Board has approved Tioga Downs Casino Racing & Entertainment for the state’s final casino-gaming license.

Tioga Downs, which is located in Nichols in Tioga County, was the sole bidder to emerge following the July 6 deadline for proposal submissions.

Tioga Downs, in a news release issued Wednesday afternoon, credited the outpouring of community, political and public support over the past several months for making “this decision possible.”

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Tioga Downs owner Jeff Gural had announced on Jan. 16 that he’d pursue the fourth casino license that the New York State Gaming Commission agreed to reconsider.

 “I’m going to get this license. I’m not going to leave anything unturned,” Gural said at a news conference at the Nichols facility that day.

The New York Gaming Facility Location Board decided last December to recommend three casino licenses in Upstate but not one for Tioga Downs and the Southern Tier region.

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

Gural’s proposal expands the hotel, offers a different finance structure, adds another $32 million in equity, and takes advantage of a lower tax rate.

Once complete, the $195 million project will make Tioga Downs a “regional entertainment” venue, it contended in the release.

The expansion will also represent a “significant” investment in the local workforce in the form of 840 new direct and indirect jobs and $145 million in spending for the state of New York, Tioga Downs said.

“Many members of the community were instrumental in demonstrating to the state that awarding a license to Tioga Downs would positively impact our region,” Jeff Gural, owner of Tioga Downs, said. “I would like to personally thank the selection committee, Gov. Cuomo, and the many municipalities and community leaders who made this license for Tioga Downs a reality. In addition, we appreciate every single person who wrote a letter, sent an email, or spoke in favor of a full gaming license for Tioga Downs at the public hearing. Your showing of support made all the difference in allowing us to move forward and begin transforming Tioga Downs into a full gaming resort.”

Tioga Downs will hold a groundbreaking ceremony and news conference later this month, according to its news release.

 

Contact Reinhardt at ereinhardt@cnybj.com

 

PHOTO CAPTION: A state panel has approved Tioga Downs Casino Racing & Entertainment for the state’s final casino-gaming license. The rendering depicts the venue with its outdoor terraces once the $195 million expansion project is complete. (Photo credit: Tioga Downs Casino Racing & Entertainment)

 

 

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