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First Of Four Casinos Opens In New York State

Tioga Downs Becomes A Full-Fledged Casino

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The first of four commercial casinos approved by New York State was scheduled to open Friday, Dec. 2. Tioga Downs, a racino that was converted into a Las Vegas-style casino, received a state gaming license as part of larger plan to boost upstate economies.

The casino said that it has 33 table games, in addition to a 12-table poker room. “The room can accommodate up to 120 players and plans are already being made to host multiple tournament events in 2017,” Tioga Downs said in a press release.

The property also replaced its video lottery terminals with traditional, “more modern” slot machines. The casino has nearly 1,000 slots thanks to the expansion.

Just a month ago, New York gaming regulators approved regulations for the new games.

“The trend in slot manufacturing the past few years has been to make games that are bigger and more comfortable for players," Tioga Downs President and General Manager Scott Freeman said.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was planned for 2 p.m. local time on Friday.

Tioga Downs was formally granted a gaming license in August. “Since that time, construction crews and the entire Tioga Downs team have been feverishly working on first phase additions to the property to get the casino open,” the casino said.

“This has been a long journey, but one that I have stated from the beginning is an important one for the people of the Southern Tier," Jeff Gural, the casino’s owner, said. “We have created a lot of additional jobs, revenue and opportunity for the region as well as benefiting local businesses and nonprofit organizations.”

The $120 million Tioga Downs spent on its expansion was just a small part of the $1.4 billion worth of investment between the four new commercial casinos.

After learning that residents spend about $1 billion each year at out-of-state casinos, New York voters approved commercial casinos in 2013.

The next New York casino to open could be the $500 million Rivers Casino and Resort in Schenectady, which is slated to begin taking bets in early February.

The brick-and-mortar casinos have implications for online poker players. At a hearing last year to discuss legislation that would allow state gambling facilities to offer online gaming, a state official said that it would be a good idea to wait until all the new casinos are open before approving online poker.

 
 
Tags: New York,   Gambling,   Tioga Downs