Plans to Expand

By Brennan Smith

Plans to Expand

January 13, 2012 Updated Jan 13, 2012 at 10:36 PM EDT

Town of Nichols, NY (WBNG Binghamton) As New York State considers amending its constitution to permit gambling, a local racino considers adding on to its existing plans to expand.

Tioga Downs Race Track and Casino pulled in $57 million in 2011 with its VLTs, or video lottery terminals.

It's a form of gambling that's legal in New York State.

In his State of the State address, Governor Cuomo says he's looking to legalize all gambling for all of the state.

In the Town of Nichols, Tioga Downs Racetrack and Casino says this could change its plans to expand.

"We were planning to build a hotel anyway, but if we're going to have live table games, we would probably increase the size of the hotel, and then we would have to expand the casino, so right off the bat, you have construction jobs," said Jeff Gural, Chairman of American Racing.

While these construction jobs would be temporary, Tioga Downs says table games could create about 150 more jobs.

It would attract more tourists and locals to its existing racetrack and sports bar, especially a younger crowd.

"Since we've opened, people have always asked 'do you have table games?' So, I think it's going to bring a lot more people, a lot of different people to the area, to the casino," said Gaming Floor Supervisor Kathy Walters.

Table games would be a new experience for the state, so employees would have to be trained, but it's something they may be looking forward to.

"It is more social. You're talking to the people. You have to have somebody who's there, the dealer, everybody else working with them, so it's more interaction I think," said Walters.

"We have a good location. We're centrally located between Binghamton, Elmira, Ithaca, Corning, the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania," said Gural.

Those New York cities could have the casinos needed to compete with surrounding states.

Tioga Downs says it plans to work on its expansion project within the next two years.

It says it is now waiting on the decision to legalize gaming in the state.

New York would have to pass an amendment to the constitution.

The earliest a public vote could be held is 2013, and that's only if the state legislature began working on passing legislation this year.