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Southern Tier Continues to Inch Toward Casino License

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By Beth Rousseau.
The fight to gain a casino license for the Southern Tier continues.

In December the Gaming Facility Location Board recommended that Lago Resort and Casino receive the license for the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes region. Lago beat out bids by Tioga Downs and Traditions at the Glen.

After backlash from local leaders, Governor Cuomo asked the board to consider awarding a fourth license to the Southern Tier.

Traditions has since dropped out of the race and is now supporting Tioga Downs in their pursuit of the license.

Friday the board approved the issuance of a new request for applications in the Southern Tier region.

The Southern Tier inches closer to obtaining a casino license.

Friday in a unanimous vote the Gaming Facility Location Board approved the request for applications, or RFA allowing for new applications in solely the Southern Tier region.

But, this by no means guarantees a casino license for the area.

Board member says, "I don't think that the legislature or anybody else viewed this process as any one person having an entitlement to this license without going through the process."

During Friday's meeting board members emphasized that neither of the proposal's presented by Tioga Downs and Traditions were suitable for the license.

"Neither one of those proposals was strong enough to have a reasonable chance of succeeding in the way the legislature envisioned. If the same ones come back in the same shape again, I would not vote to approve them," says one board member.

According to a report released by the board, Tioga Downs will have to address financing and design plan weaknesses in their proposal if they hope to receive the gaming license. Tioga Downs owner Jeff Gural says that might not be possible.

Jeff Gural says, ""Frankly there's not that much more that I can do to improve my project. I'm going to add some things. Another restaurant, Virgil's, and the miniature golf and stuff so we're going to add that."

Gural is confident that if the board visited Tioga Downs they wouldn't hesitate to award the license. adding a critical element to the regions economy.

"I think that it was promised to the Southern Tier, the Southern Tier needs those jobs and there's no reason they don't get them," says Gural.

The RFA will now be put to a vote with the New York State Gaming Commission. If approved the application process will then be reopened.