Tioga Downs Casino Resort – Racino Review

Tioga Downs is a racecourse and casino located near the town of Nichols in the southern parts of New York. It is nestled between the Susquehanna River and the border with Pennsylvania, easily accessible via the Southern Tier Expressway.

The racecourse at the casino’s present location was opened in 1976, but it was short-lived. Three decades later, in 2006, the Tioga Downs Casino Resort was open, following the 2005 approval of video lottery terminals across the state.

The resort offers horse racing, casino gambling, and a sportsbook. There are more than 500 video slots and video poker games, as well as 28 table games, together with a dedicated poker room. The casino’s recently opened sportsbook is operated by FanDuel, and it offers pre-match and live betting on the most popular sporting events.

Tioga Downs Casino Resort is not only known for gambling. The complex also features a 160-room hotel with luxury accommodation, around ten dining venues, a golf club, and an entertainment center for live concerts and shows. The center can also be used for weddings, meetings, conferences, and other social events.

The casino is open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. It is 100% smoke-free, and all guests must be at least 21 years old to enter.

Tioga Downs Casino Resort

  • Address: 2384 W River Rd, Nichols, NY 13812
  • Owner: Jeffrey Gural, CEO of American Racing & Entertainment
  • Operator: American Racing & Entertainment
  • Hours: Daily, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Casino games: 500+ video slots and video poker machines and 28 table games
  • Sportsbook: Yes
  • Poker: Texas Hold’em and Omaha cash games and tournaments

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Tioga Downs Casino Resort gambling partnerships

After the arrival of the FanDuel sports betting platform in New York, Tioga Downs Casino Resort was quick to arrange a partnership deal with the FanDuel Group and add a dedicated sports betting area to its gaming floor.

The two sides signed a partnership deal in 2019, soon after which the FanDuel sportsbook opened inside the casino, becoming the first retail sportsbook in New York. We will share more details about the casino’s sportsbook below.

State law currently prohibits online blackjack for real money in NY, as well as other table games such as online roulette or craps. The same applies to NY online poker or NY online slot machines. Should the state move to regulate the market, though, Tioga Downs might reasonably be expected to launch its own real money casino site in partnership with FanDuel Casino NY. Other potential operators expected to vie for the casino’s attention could include:

The casino at Tioga Downs Casino Resort

Tioga Downs Casino Resort is conveniently located just north of the border with Pennsylvania, giving the residents of this state easy access to enjoy legal gambling.

Tioga Downs Casino Resort features around 20,000 square feet of gaming space. It doesn’t make it one of the largest casinos in the state, but it still offers its guests a versatile gaming experience with over 500 slots, 28 table games, a poker room, and a sportsbook.

The number of video slots varies over time, as the collection once included over 900 machines. The number of machines was limited due to restrictions caused by the pandemic, but it is expected that it will soon bounce back to normal.

The 28 tables include games such as blackjack, baccarat, roulette, craps, poker, and more. There is also a 6-table poker where you can test your skills against other players in Texas Hold’em and Omaha cash games and occasional tournaments. The 2,600-square-foot retail sportsbook is just off the main entrance and offers prime-time sports betting action with eight betting kiosks and over two dozen video displays.

If you plan on visiting the casino regularly, you should consider signing up for the casino’s rewards program called Tioga Rewards Club, through which you can win great prizes and enjoy special benefits.

Apart from the rewards program, Tioga Downs Casino Resort offers several promotions, the most notable of which include:

  • New Members: First $100 On Us! — When you sign up for the Tioga Rewards Club, the casino will match your losses on the first day up to $100.
  • Early Risers Free Play — First 200 players to play between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. every day Monday through Friday will get $10 worth of free play.
  • Thursday Hot Seat — Every Thursday at every hour between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., two winners will be drawn to receive $100 worth of free play.
  • Friday Hot Seat — Every Friday at every hour between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., two winners will be drawn to receive $250 worth of free play.
  • Senior Days — Tuesdays and Wednesdays are Senior Days at the Tioga Downs Casino Resort. All patrons who are 50 or older will receive $2 worth of free play after earning one gaming point and will enter automatically $100 free play draws that take place every hour between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Slot machines

Tioga Downs Casino Resort in Nichols, NY, currently has 508 video slot machines in operation, including several video poker games. The machines are manufactured by some of the biggest software companies in the industry, including APEX, Konami, Aristocrat, IGT, and others.

The video slot collection full of exciting titles, with the most popular being 88 Fortunes, Blazing 777, Buffalo Gold, Dancing Drums, Double Diamond, Fu Dao Le, Green Machine Deluxe, Jackpot Inferno, Lightning Link, Lock It Link, Triple Red Hot 7s, Wonder 4, and many more.

Depending on the game, the denominations can vary between 1¢ and $5 per pull. Plenty of video slots feature progressive jackpots that have the potential of winning you over $20,000. The casino pays tens of millions of dollars to jackpot winners every month.

Table games

Tioga Downs Casino & Resort features 28 table games that can be found next to the Sideshow Lounge on the main gaming floor. Several table games are also located in the High Limit room.

The available table games include:

  • Blackjack (pays 3:2, stand on soft 17)
  • Spanish 21
  • 777 Blazing Blackjack Progressive
  • Craps
  • Roulette
  • Mini/Midi Baccarat
  • Big Six Wheel
  • Mississippi Stud Poker
  • Three Card Poker
  • Four Card Poker
  • Pai Gow Poker
  • Let It Ride Poker

Tioga rewards Club

Being a member of the Tioga Rewards Club lets you enjoy VIP treatment in the form of special benefits and perks. Namely, every time you play at the casino, it will count towards your point total. You will be earning Tier Points and Rewards Points separately. Tier points count toward your tier level, while the Rewards Points can be redeemed for free play, food, hotel stays, spa center, golf club, and entertainment.

Every $4 you wager on video slots and every $8 you wager on video poker and electronic table games will earn you one Tier Point and one Rewards Point. The Rewards Points are valued at 1¢ each (100 points are equal to $1). The 12-month qualification period lasts from May 1 through April 30 every year, after which your point total will be reset to zero.

To join the Tioga Rewards Club, simply present your valid ID to the service desk, and you’ll get a personal Rewards card. Insert the card into the slot machine or present it to the dealer when playing table games.

There are five tier levels in the Tioga Rewards Club:

  • Choice — 0 to 1,499 Tier Points
  • Preferred — 1,500 to 9,999 Tier Points
  • Premier — 10,000 to 39,999 Tier Points
  • Elite — 40,000 to 89,999 Tier Points
  • VIP — 90,000+ Tier Points

Of course, the higher your tier is, the bigger and better your benefits get. Choice members can redeem their Rewards Points and earn promotional entries. Preferred members will get discounts, birthday gifts, and invites to exclusive events. Premier members receive special email offers and get one monthly golf cart rental at the golf club.

If you reach Elite status, the casino will give you a free valet service and will waive your resort fees. VIP members get all of the above, plus one free spa service per month, two complimentary tickets to selected concerts, a personal casino host, and more.

Tioga Downs Casino Resort poker room

The casino’s poker room can be found next to the High Limit room. It features six poker tables that run the following games:

  • Limit Texas Hold’em
  • No-Limit Texas Hold’em
  • Limit Omaha High
  • Pot-Limit Omaha High
  • Limit Omaha High/Low
  • Pot-Limit Omaha High/Low
  • 5 Card Stud
  • 7 Card Stud

As you can see, there’s plenty of variety, so you can easily find your favorite poker game and play with different limits. Apart from regular cash games, Tioga Downs Casino Resort often organizes tournaments. Check the casino’s official website to see the tournament schedule.

FanDuel sportsbook at the Tioga Downs Casino Resort

FanDuel Sportsbook opened at the Tioga Downs Casino and Resort in the summer of 2019, becoming the first retail sportsbook in New York.

The 2,600-square-foot sports betting area is everything that you would expect from a FanDuel retail location. It has 27 HD screens, including a massive video wall, eight betting kiosks, and enough seats for over 50 people.

The sportsbook offers betting on all the most popular sporting events, including football, basketball, baseball, hockey, MMA/boxing, soccer, and more, with dozens of markets for each. It is open from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays, and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends.

Harness racing at the Tioga Downs

The Tioga Park opened in 1976 as a quarter horse race track. It was renovated in 2006 and turned into a 5/8 mile harness racetrack. The racing season is held every year from May to September, and some of the most notable races taking place here include the New York Sire Stakes, Roll With Joe Open Pace, the Empire Breeders Classic, and Tompkins Geers Grand Circuit Stakes, to name a few.

Apart from wagering on live harness racing, you can enjoy simulcasting all year round with the most popular races from all over North America.

Tioga Downs Casino Resort amenities

Tioga Downs Casino Resort Hotel

Tioga Downs Casino Resort features a 160-room hotel with spacious guest rooms and suites. All rooms come with a gorgeous view of the surroundings and are equipped with the latest amenities, including flat-screen TVs, coffee makers, mini-fridges, free Wi-Fi, and more.

Guests are free to spend some time at the hotel’s spa center or relax at the Cabana Bar and an outdoor pool. The hotel is 100% smoke-free.

Dining options

Tioga Downs Casino Resort has eight dining venues, varying in style, cuisine, and price range:

  • Java G’s — If you need a hot cup of joe to start the day right, Java G’s is the place. Choose between several kinds of espressos and grab a bite of fresh breakfast pastries, sandwiches, sweets, salads, and baked goods.
  • J. Clarke’s — Sit for breakfast, brunch, or dinner at P.J. Clarke’s and enjoy its great outdoor patio overlooking the harness racetrack.
  • Virgil’s Real BBQ — The name of this place says it all — get the real barbecue experience in a rustic-style restaurant with BBQ specialties from the South.
  • Sideshow Lounge — Located on the gaming floor, the Sideshow Lounge is a great place for late-night fun, as it features a 220-foot entertainment screen and live shows every Friday and Saturday.
  • The Kitchen at Tioga Downs — No casino is complete without a buffet. The Kitchen at Tioga Downs lets you indulge in all your favorites, from hot-dogs and salads to seafood, pasta, and desserts.
  • Coasters Sports Bar — An ideal place for cheering on your favorite team while enjoying great food and refreshing drinks.
  • Carousel Bar — Take a spin around the Carousel Bar and take sips of your preferred alcoholic and non-alcoholic mixers and a wide assortment of beers.
  • Mister G’s Post Time Pizza — If you just want to grab a slice on the go and get back to your slot machine as soon as possible, Mister G’s Post Time Pizza will have everything to satisfy your taste buds.

Tioga Downs Casino Resort history

Tioga Downs started in 1976 as a quarter horse track called Tioga Park. However, the track was losing money consistently, and it closed down after only three seasons. In 2005, a New York real-estate executive Jeff Gural purchased the Tioga Park for $32 million with plans to open a racino, as VLTs became approved at the racetracks the same year.

Tioga Downs was officially opened on June 9, 2006, featuring live harness racing, simulcast betting, and more than 800 video slots. In 2015, Tioga Downs received a license granting it to host table games. A few dozen tables were added in 2016.

The final addition to the racino was the hotel resort that was open in 2017, after which the complex was renamed Tioga Downs Casino Resort.

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