- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 13, 2015

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - A state board is expected to decide Wednesday whether to allow a racetrack casino in New York’s Southern Tier to expand into a full casino.

Tioga Downs’ application for a state casino license was initially denied last year by the Gaming Facility Location Board, but the facility in Nichols revised its proposal after Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked for the bidding process to be reopened.

Local leaders in the Southern Tier say the jobs and economic activity from a casino would be a boon for the economically struggling region. Tioga Downs racino owner Jeff Gural said he believes his new plan, which includes additional amenities and a revised financial plan, should win over the location board.

“I feel pretty good,” Gural told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “We made changes to address concerns that they had. We have the support of the community, and there’s clearly a need for investment in the Southern Tier. … we’re the only bidder, so that’s good too.”

The recommendation by the location board is expected to be announced Wednesday afternoon when it meets in New York City. The state’s Gaming Commission has the ultimate say on issuing a casino license following criminal background checks and other final reviews.

The location board late last year endorsed three other casino proposals in the Finger Lakes, the Catskills and in Schenectady. The teams behind those three developments are now awaiting formal licensure.

No other developers stepped forward when bidding was reopened earlier this year for a fourth available license, limited to the Southern Tier.

Gural’s proposal also includes restaurants, a hotel and a concert venue.

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