- Associated Press - Monday, March 23, 2015

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Bidding opened Monday for those interested in building a Las Vegas-style casino in New York’s Southern Tier, but so far there’s only one contender.

The state’s Gaming Commission approved a new request for applications at a meeting Monday. Applications for the casino license are due in July, and a final decision is expected this fall.

Tioga Downs, a harness racing track and electronic gambling facility in Nichols, is the only group that has announced plans to bid for the license. An initial casino application from Tioga was rejected in December by a state siting board. The board instead endorsed casino projects in the Catskills, the Finger Lakes and Schenectady.

“We’ve been working the past few weeks to figure out how to improve our application,” Tioga owner Jeff Gural said.

A proposal for a casino in the city of Binghamton is another possibility, according to Binghamton Mayor Richard C. David, who said he has heard discussion of a potential proposal.

“I believe there is interest,” he said, adding “it would be premature to say there definitely will be another applicant.”

Gural said he doesn’t believe the region could support both his racino and a new casino in Binghamton. He said the location of Tioga Downs and his existing investment there should make him the winner in any competition for the license.

“I can hire 800 to 1,000 people within six months,” he said. “People need jobs now.”

The three casino projects already approved by the siting board are Montreign Resort Casino in Sullivan County, Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady and Lago Resort & Casino in Seneca County. The Gaming Commission will formally award the licenses once background checks of the projects’ principals are completed.


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