Tioga Downs CEO: My bid is best

By Matt Porter

November 18, 2013 Updated Nov 18, 2013 at 7:47 PM EDT

Nichols, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Although the day was meant to celebrate breaking ground on a new multi-million dollar expansion, CEO Jeff Gural could not ignore his local competitors seeking a coveted casino license from New York state.

"It's just not going to happen, unless they plan to put me out of business," Gural told a group of 100 supporters. "I don't intend to be put out of business."

Gural was talking about last week's reveal that Traditions at the Glen will submit their own bid for a 90,000 square foot casino along with hotel expansion and outdoor concert venue.

The Tioga Downs CEO said only one group will be able to survive.

"There is no way that two casinos can exist 25 miles apart here in the Southern Tier. That's a guarantee, that's a certainty," Gural said.

Gural and his partners stood out with shovels to break ground on a new indoor parking garage.

The expansion is phase one of his plan to build a larger, Las Vegas style casino.

However, the rest of his project is contingent on him winning one of four licenses up for grabs in upstate.

Only one is guaranteed to be awarded in the Southern Tier region, with an unlikely possibility of an extra being awarded.

Gural said he expects phase one to be complete by the time the licenses are awarded, giving him a head start.

"No one can argue that I'm going to be open two years before anyone else," he said.

Tioga County Tourism Director Stella Rechke said the current racino has been a huge boost for the area.

"It's our major attraction, and to see an expansion would be a bonus for us," Rechke said. "I think it's a no brainer that they would use the facility that's already here."

Gural made a bold statement regarding the $150 million casino proposal from Traditions.

He said a casino there would never get the customers needed because Tioga Downs will still exist.

"I can tell you that whoever invests in that project will go broke," Gural said. "100 percent."

The casino legislation does not become law until January 1, 2014, when a Facility Location Board made up of five members will be set up to choose the first four locations for licenses.

Once the board is set up, they will put out a formal request for proposals for the spring.

A decision on the licenses is not expected until later in 2014.