On Friday, December 2nd, Tioga Downs racino reopened its doors as a fully-fledged Vegas style casino. Tioga Downs is the first of four casinos that were given the green light by New York state officials to introduce casino games on a larger scale. The new venue includes over 30 table games and poker room with 12 tables.
Remarking on the poker room, Tioga Downs said in a press release that it could accommodate up to 120 players, and there were already plans in the pipeline to host multiple tournament events next year. The racino’s old video lottery terminals (VLTs) were replaced with modern slot machines – bringing the number of slots now on offer to players to nearly one thousand.
The President of Tioga Downs, Scott Freeman, said that the trend in slot manufacturing in recent years has been to create games that are more customer-friendly and larger.
In August this year, Tioga Downs was granted a state gaming license in bid by New York to boost economies in upstate regions.
The casino’s press release described the “feverish” work that went in to upgrading Tioga Downs in time to get the property open for the official December 2nd ribbon cutting ceremony.
Owner of Tioga Downs, Jeff Gural said: “This has been a long journey, but one that I have stated from the beginning is an important one for the people of the Southern Tier. Gural said that the casino has created many additional jobs , revenue and opportunity for the local people and region, and has also benefitted local businesses and nonprofit organizations.
It is believed that, jointly, the four licensed casinos will spend a total of $1.4 billion on expanding their properties in order to turn them into new, commercial, Vegas-style casinos. Tioga Downs spent a relatively small amount of that sum – around $120 million.
Following the opening on Friday, the local media reported on a successful first day. Articles described the new bar with a stage and seating area for entertainment. A full weekend of celebrations followed the Friday opening, complete with showgirls, giveaways and a Winterfest. Around half the new games have arrived, and the others will be delivered in the coming months. Next on the list is the construction of a hotel which will include a waterpark, restaurants and a banquet center.
It should be noted that, due to state regulations, the minimum gambling age inside the casino has changed from 18 to 21, although 18 year olds can bet on horseracing during the race season.