Tioga Downs

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Tioga Downs
Location Nichols, New York
Address 2384 West River Road, Nichols, NY 13812
Opening date June 9, 2006
Theme County-Fair
No. of rooms 0
Total gaming space 802 machines
Notable restaurants Carousel Bar
Coasters Sports Bar
Subway
County Fair Buffet
Casino type Racino
Owner Jeffrey Gural, CEO of American Racing and Entertainment, LLC; Thomas Osiecki, President and General Manager American Racing, Tom Murray Security Supervisor, Dave Miller, Director of Security, Katie Krapf Events Coordinator, Anita Wintermute EMT
Architect CGL Architects
Coordinates 42°01′31″N 76°24′57″W / 42.025324°N 76.415749°W / 42.025324; -76.415749
Website Tioga Downs Casino

Tioga Downs is a county-fair-themed standardbred racetrack (5/8 mile) and racino located on a 138-acre (0.56 km2) site in Nichols, New York.

History[edit]

Tioga Downs originally was a quarterhorse track known as "Tioga Park" in 1976, closing down after its third season. James Nuckel, then owner, stated that, "the track had been losing thousands of dollars a day and was still in the red after three years of operation" (New York Times, 1978). Thereafter, a few private races and the occasional flea market were held at the location.

Revival[edit]

In 2000, Jeffrey Gural, a real-estate executive, horse owner, and racing enthusiast, began lobbying for state approval of Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) at racetracks. In 2005, they were approved. Shortly after Gural, with partnership from Nevada Gold and Casinos, bought the old Tioga Park for $32 million (New York Times, 2006; Press and Sun Bulletin, 2006). A ground-breaking ceremony was held July 22, 2005.

On June 9, 2006, Tioga Downs opened, offering harness racing, simulcast betting, and over 800 VLTs. Tioga Downs has two bars, a Subway(TM) restaurant, banquet room, coffee/bakery shop, and buffet. It also has a stage area, which hosts concerts. Artists that appeared at Tioga Downs have included Gretchen Wilson, Vanilla Ice, Tony Orlando, and Sister Sledge. During the warmer months, a trackside tent is available for wedding receptions, business meetings, parties, and awards' ceremonies. In 2011, The Tioga Downs Flea Market opened.

Gaming[edit]

Tioga Downs has 802 VLTs, averaging ~92% payback. The racino offers player's club cards at three levels: classic, progressive and jackpot. Outside the gaming room Quick Draw(TM) and instant lottery tickets are available. Inside the racino, keno, video poker, and slot machines are available. The largest progressive offered is typically $250,000+ at a group of Hot Shot machines.

Racing[edit]

Tioga Downs schedules racing between May and September, typically on Friday and Saturday evenings (6:50 PM), and 1:30 PM on Sundays. The track record is 1:48.1, set by two horses: Bettor Sweet, in 2011, and Pet Rock, in 2013.

Financial History[edit]

Revenues from slot machines at Tioga Downs had increased steadily since opening in 2006. "Net wins" (defined as total credits wagered minus total credits won) was $30 million during the abbreviated fiscal year 2006-2007, $43 million 2007-2008, $48 million 2008-2009, $50 million 2009-2010, $54 million 2010-2011, $60 million 2011-2012, and peaked in 2012-2013 at $61 million. The first year-over-year decline was recorded in 2013-2014 with the net win estimated at $57 million. On average, each slot machine contributes ~$200 in revenue per day (New York Lottery, 2014).

Future[edit]

With the November 2013 57% voter approval of "Proposition One" -- an amendment to the New York State constitution to allow table games at a prescribed number of venues -- a ground-breaking ceremony was held 18 November 2013 to expand Tioga Downs in a number of ways. In the short-term, a $14 million, three-story parking garage complex is planned (Star Gazette, 2013). While owner Gural applies for a gaming license to include table games for the 'Southern Tier' region, additional expansion plans include a 136-room hotel, event center, and expansion of the gaming floor, including a poker room (The Daily Review, 2013).


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