A panoramic view of the main lobby of Tioga Downs
|Location||Nichols, New York|
|Address||2384 West River Road, Nichols, NY 13812|
|Opening date||June 9, 2006|
|No. of rooms||160|
|Total gaming space||942 machines|
Coasters Sports Bar
County Fair Buffet
|Owner||Jeffrey Gural, CEO of American Racing and Entertainment, LLC; Scott Freeman, President and General Manager American Racing, Tom Murray Security Supervisor, Dave Miller, Director of Security, Graham Shanks F&B Supervisor, Katie Krapf Events Coordinator, Anita Wintermute EMT,|
|Website||Tioga Downs Casino|
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.
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 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. In 2017, a hotel resort was added to the site.
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 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.
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.
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).
The November 2013 voter approval of "Proposal One"--an amendment to the New York State Constitution allowing table games at a prescribed number of venues--allowed the State of New York to issue a limited number of licenses for Las Vegas-style casinos in upstate New York. Tioga Downs owner Jeff Gural applied for a license to expand Tioga Downs to become a full-fledged casino featuring table games. Gural's initial application was denied; however, after Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked the New York State Gaming Facility Location Board to reconsider. In October 2015, the Board reversed its decision and issued a license to Tioga Downs. The expanded Tioga Downs opened in December 2016.
- "Tioga Downs plans to break ground following passage of casino gaming law". The Daily Review. Towanda. November 20, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-29.
- "A confident Tioga Downs starts expansion". Star Gazette. Elmira. November 18, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-29.
- York, Michelle (June 18, 2006). "Placing Bets on the Harness Racing, but Putting Their Money on the Slot Machines". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
- "Tioga Downs owner bets racino will provide boost to Tier". Press & Sun-Bulletin. Binghamton. March 19, 2006. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
- "Tioga Park Closes". The New York Times. July 20, 1978. Retrieved 2011-10-29.