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Tioga Downs Owner Expresses Frustration, Hope With Second License Bid

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With the New York State Gaming Commission saying yesterday it expects a second application for a Southern Tier casino license, the only known bidder isn't looking forward to the competition.

Jeff Gural, owner of Tioga Downs in Nichols, says he has made significant investments in two distressed areas of the state: in our area with Tioga Downs and the Utica/Rome area with the racino Vernon Downs. After losing out on a casino license once to Lago resorts in the town of Tyre, The idea of losing once again to an as-of-yet-unknown bidder has him feeling mistreated.

"We employ over 700 people. You would think people would look at it and say, 'Jeff deserves a license,' But (it's) just the opposite, apparently," said Gural.

Applications are due July 6th. Gural says he has improved his application since failing in his bid last year. He has increased the size of the hotel and put in more equity into the project.