Owners Tout Economic Benefits of New York Racetrack Expansion

A proposed expansion of the Tioga Downs racino (l.) in Nichols, New York, into a full casino would add hundreds of badly needed jobs in a region whose unemployment rate ranks among the nation’s highest, casino supporters say.

A public hearing held September 18 in Binghamton, New York, indicated local support for a proposed expansion of the nearby Tioga Downs racetrack and racino that some say will be good for the local economy.

Tioga Downs is the only applicant for a fourth casino license in New York’s Southern Tier, and the state’s Gaming Commission is holding public hearings before rendering decision by the end of the year.

Hopeful supporters say the proposed casino would provide much needed jobs as well as tourism and gaming dollars for a struggling local economy that ranks among the nation’s worst.

“The Southern Tier’s unemployment rate is among the highest in the state and in the nation. These new jobs are sorely needed,” Southern Tier Economic Growth President George Miner, told the commission, the Associated Press reported.

A project economic benefits study indicates the proposed casino would almost double the wages and salaries of current and additional Tioga Downs workers while pumping about $12 million in additional tax revenues for the state and federal government, the Press & Sun Bulletin reported.

Documents obtained by the newspaper suggest: “The transformation of Tioga Downs into a casino resort would have a significant economic impact on a region in dire need of new job opportunities, business growth and fiscal stimulus.“

“Given the historical migration out of the region due to the lack of job opportunities, these stimuli are critically needed by the community and the region,” the study claims.

A market study suggest the proposed casino by 2019 would generate up to $119 million in gaming revenue versus the about $55 million generated last year, the Press & Sun Bulletin reported.

Tioga Downs wants to install 1,000 slot machines to replace 802 video gaming machines and add a poker room and gaming tables.

The proposed casino project includes a new hotel and day spa and possibly buying the nearby Tioga Country Club golf course.