Tioga Downs To Stay Open

By Justin Moss

July 22, 2010 Updated Feb 13, 2008 at 7:14 PM EDT

It looks like a big win for Tioga Downs.

After threatening to close this month, a new agreement in Albany allows the Racino in Nichols to stay open.

The VLT's will keep ringing and harness horses racing at Tioga Downs.

State lawmakers reached an agreement to let racinos keep more profits.

"The legislation is very solid, it's good for jobs, good for Tioga Downs and it's good for the economy of the area. I'm very pleased," says State Senator Thomas Libous.

The bill passed through Legislature but needs approval from the Governor.

Tioga Downs first threatened to close last May, even before its one year anniversary.

Owner Jeff Gural says the racino loses 250 thousand dollars every month.

Now, Tioga Downs keeps 32 percent of all its profits.

The rest goes to local and state taxes.

The new agreement lets the racino keep 40 percent.

Gural says that's an extra 3.2 million dollars every year.

The news makes these gamblers feel lucky, they were betting the racino would close.

"It's good because prior to them opening up I used to drive down to Pocono Downs, which is quite a trip, about 90 miles each way, you know, it's more convenient coming up here," says Bill Brown of Sayre.

"Very good news, it's a place for the seniors to come you know, we have our lunch here and then we do a little gambling, it's good," says June Wolff of Vestal.

"I think it's great news, I love the place and I love winning all the money," says Gaenett Bolan of Binghamton.

New York racinos will also get more money for marketing, and money for improvements.

Gural says he wants to add a hotel, restaurant and spa to attract more people to visit, stay and gamble.

Libous's taped comments were provided by his office.

Vernon Downs near Syracuse closed Monday but is now set to re-open Thursday.

Governor Eliot Spitzer still has to sign the legislation.

The agreement also gives the New York Racing Association approval to run three New York horse tracks.

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