(WBNG) -- Of the four casinos recently awarded full-gaming licenses by New York State, Tioga Downs was the first to open. But, if you recall, Tioga Downs wasn't the state's first choice for our region.
The Southern Tier and the Finger Lakes were considered one region during the licensing process. On December 17, 2014, Montreign Resort Casino in the Catskills, Rivers Casino & Resort at Mohawk Harbor in Schenectady, and Lago Resort & Casino in the Finger Lakes were all awarded full-casino licenses.
Tioga Downs was left out.
"The people of the Southern Tier just got screwed," Tioga Downs Owner Jeff Gural said moments after the announcement.
The Lago project, located in Tyre, New York is roughly two hours from the city of Binghamton. Gural, Tom Libous, and others called on the gaming commission to reopen an application specifically for the Southern Tier-- which it did.
In August of this year, Tioga Downs was given the final step of approval to go forward with the full casino. It opened Friday.
Gural had already started construction a year later, having full confidence the second attempt at the license would be successful.
As for the other three projects, Lago Resort and Casino wont open until February 2017. Rivers Casino will open around the same time, and Montreign won't be ready until 2018.
Gural has said from the beginning Tioga Downs would be the first to open if awarded a full license, and it was.
December 17, 2014 was a historic day in the Southern Tier for another reason. That same day, Governor Cuomo's administration announced it would ban hydraulic fracturing.