Vernon Downs Casino Hotel & Race Track
Located in upstate New York — in Vernon, near Syracuse — Vernon Downs Casino Hotel features a racetrack, gambling facilities, and a hotel. The property that was first established as a harness racetrack in the 1950s was turned into a racino in 2006, after a racing enthusiast and current estate owner, Jeffrey Gural, invested in its expansion.
Vernon Downs Casino Hotel contains 34,500 square feet of video-lottery-terminal gaming space. Although the casino currently doesn’t offer live table games, the selection of over 200 top-of-the-line slots can cater to all player demands.
Guests can visit the simulcast room all year round and enjoy live harness racing from April to November. The Vernon Downs Racetrack currently hosts some of the most notable racing events, such as the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial Trot, Empire Breeders Classic, and New York Sire Stakes races.
Both the casino and the racetrack offer exciting promotions that allow patrons to get the most bang for their buck. On top of that, Vernon Rewards Club has prepared some exclusive and generous offers to reward its members’ loyalty.
The AAA-approved hotel on the premises houses 175 comfortable rooms and suites, seven bars and restaurants, several meeting rooms, an indoor heated pool and whirlpool, and a fitness center.
Vernon Downs Casino welcomes all patrons 18 years or older every day from 09:00 AM to 11:00 p.m.
Vernon Downs Casino Hotel
- Address: 4229 Stuhlman Rd, Vernon, NY 13476
- Owner: Jeffrey Gural, CEO of American Racing and Entertainment, LLC
- Operator: American Racing and Entertainment, LLC
- Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. daily
- Casino games: Over 200 video lottery terminals
- Sportsbook: Live horse racing
- Poker: n/a
New York Casinos in the News
The casino at Vernon Downs Casino Hotel
Vernon Downs Casino Hotel is located in Vernon in upstate New York, around 250 miles northwest of New York City. Its convenient location makes it a perfect weekend getaway for New Yorkers and residents of the neighboring Canadian province, Ontario.
The casino floor was added to the harness racetrack in 2006 when Jeffery Gural, an American real-estate mogul and the current owner of Vernon Downs Casino Hotel, received approval to offer VLTs at his New York properties.
Following the $4 million expansion, the 34,500-square-foot casino floor was created, currently housing more than 200 slots but no live dealer games. Nevertheless, the VLT selection offers some of the most popular titles, including progressive jackpots and modern themed slots.
The casino regularly offers generous promotions to show appreciation for its existing patrons and draw in new players. Here are some of the most exciting ones you can take advantage of at the moment:
- Points For Free Play: Each Monday and Wednesday, members of the Vernon Rewards Club can redeem their points for free play. Receive between $10 and $100 of free play money!
- New Members: First $100 on Us! — All new members of Vernon Rewards Club will get back the first $100 they lose playing.
- Golden Gamers: All 50+ members of Vernon Rewards Club who earn 200 points playing slots on Tuesdays will receive a free play bonus worth between $5 and $20, depending on their loyalty level.
Operating under the New York state lottery laws, Vernon Downs Casino can host only video lottery terminals. As already mentioned, there are 200 VLTs spread around the 34,500-square-foot casino floor. Players can enjoy various popular titles, including contemporary themed slots and video poker.
The games are suitable for any bankroll, as they come in multiple denominations, ranging from one cent to $5. Some of the most exciting slot titles you can opt for at Vernon Downs Casino include:
- Aztec Fortune
- Invaders From The Planet Moolah
- Monopoly Millionaire
- Stinkin Rich
- Triple Double Diamond
- Wheel of Fortune Big Money
These state-of-the-art slots feature top-notch graphics and frequent bonus rounds that maximize your chances of winning. On top of that, the comfortable seating allows you to enjoy your favorite pastime for hours on end.
In addition to standard VLTs, members can also find progressive jackpots that bring additional excitement and tremendous winning opportunities. The Vernon Downs Casino official website even contains a section showcasing jackpot winners, so you know that things are fair here, and everyone gets a chance to walk away rich.
The casino also posts weekly payout information every Monday, and the amounts are staggering. For instance, lucky winners cashed out a whopping $5 million in a single week in February.
Vernon Downs Casino Hotel in Vernon, NY, holds a Class II license, which means that it is presently not allowed to host live dealer games. There is no information on whether the casino will add table games in the future, but we will make sure to update this review if it does.
Meanwhile, table game lovers playing at Vernon Downs Casino can enjoy video poker.
Vernon Downs rewards club
Patrons at Vernon Downs Casino Hotel & Race Track have the opportunity to become members of the Vernon Downs Rewards Club, which gives them a chance to win exclusive rewards. In fact, to become eligible for any promotion at Vernon Downs Casino, players need to be members of this loyalty club.
Registering as a member is simple and free of charge. Just present a valid ID at the casino and ask for a membership card. The tiered loyalty system contains the following four levels:
- Plus — 0 – 2,499 points
- Preferred — 2,500 – 24,999 points
- Premier — 25,000 – 124,999 points
- Elite — 125,000+ points
Members can earn points playing any of their favorite VLTs. Each $1 bet translates to one point. Players can redeem the points for hotel amenities, food, gifts, and on certain days, free play.
On top of that, with each new loyalty level you reach, you become eligible for more generous offers and rewards. These include hotel discounts, birthday bonuses, invitations to exclusive events, priority service lines, late check-outs, and even personal casino hosts.
What’s more, the casino provides added benefits for all US Military and first responders, holders of the Vernon Downs Rewards Club card. Supplying a valid proof of service will earn you a sticker add-on that will enhance all offers and rewards you would normally get at each loyalty level.
Will Vernon Downs offer an online casino?
In the event that New York legalizes online casinos for real money, Vernon Downs could consider offering its own online gambling product as a source of extra revenue. This would include offering blackjack and online roulette for real money in NY.
The major online operators are also expected to launch in the state or partner with land-based casinos to offer their products. Prospective candidates that may be interested in offering their casino and online slot games in New York would likely include the following:
- DraftKings Casino site NY
- FanDuel Casino site NY
- BetRivers Casino site NY
- Caesars Casino site NY
- BetMGM Casino site NY
It’s also possible that some new online casinos in NY may launch specifically to target the potentially lucrative market, especially if there is a high level of demand for online gambling services among residents of the state.
Horse racing at Vernon Downs Racetrack
Established in 1953, Vernon Downs Racetrack has had a long tradition of hosting harness racing. Although it has gone through some challenging times throughout its history, the racetrack was once among the country’s most famous harness tracks. It is probably known by most as the location where Adios Harry ran his Miracle Mile, setting a record that no other horse could beat in 18 years.
Over the years, the famed racetrack has hosted many notable events, including Zweig Memorial, Crawford Farms Trot, and Muscle Hill, to name a few. The six-furlong oval continues to offer live harness races every year from April to November when fans can watch and wager on their favorite contenders.
For the out-of-season horse-racing fix, Vernon Downs offers a simulcast room with giant screens, 27 individual carrels, and 11 private tables with TVs so that you can get the most out of the experience.
Additional benefits for players include special racing promotions, including a cash rebate program that allows Rewards Club members to get some of their money back. Visitors who are not very familiar with horse racing but would like to learn and start horse betting can take advantage of the free betting guide available on the Vernon Downs official website.
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Vernon Downs Casino Hotel amenities
The hotel at Vernon Downs Casino
The hotel at Vernon Downs was added to the racetrack in 1994. The AAA-approved accommodation facility contains 175 rooms and suites, several dining options, an indoor pool, and a fitness center.
Guests can choose between a number of different accommodation units, including:
- Two Full Beds Rooms
- King Bed Rooms
- King Bed ADA Room
- King Bed Junior Jacuzzi Trackside Suites
- King Bed Standard Jacuzzi Suites
- Honeymoon Suite
- Luxury Suite
- Presidential Suite
- Conference Trackside Suite
The amenities you can expect include refrigerators, microwaves, flat-screen TVs, coffee makers, jacuzzis in deluxe suites, accessible modes upon request, complimentary breakfast and parking, and much more.
Non-smokers will appreciate the fact that the casino hotel is 100% smoke-free, so you can enjoy your stay without the unpleasant smell of cigarettes. Visitors can access the casino through the walkway inside the hotel building.
Remember that Vernon Downs Rewards Club members can get exclusive hotel offers and discounts, so don’t forget to show your membership card when you check-in.
For a much-needed pick-me-up between your gambling sessions, you can visit one of seven bars and restaurants at the Vernon Downs Casino Hotel complex. Whether you would like to grab a drink, a quick bite on the go, or sit down for a full meal, there is an option to cater to your needs.
You can choose from the following dining options:
- G’s Food and Spirits — Located by the hotel lobby. It is a perfect place to grab a salad, a sandwich, a hamburger, or other comfort food.
- Triple 777 cafe — A corner cafe located on the casino floor. You can choose between a variety of soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, chicken wings, and more.
- The Kitchen at Vernon Downs — A new, affordable restaurant on the casino floor offering decadent comfort food such as fried chicken, country fried steak, flat iron steak, and many other choices.
- Gold Cup Buffet — A buffet with a view of the racetrack. Enjoy salads, desserts, and other delicious meals as you cheer for your favorite contender.
- Miracle Mile Restaurant — Located just off the simulcast room. This restaurant lets you enjoy great food and simulcast wagering at the same time.
- Ring Eyed Pete’s Bar — A weekend entertainment bar located on the casino floor offering a vast selection of craft beer.
- Trackside Concessions — The place to grab a quick bite and enjoy chips, hotdogs, and hamburgers by the racetrack.
Note that some bars and restaurants are currently closed. Check the Vernon Downs official website for more information.
Special events & entertainment
In addition to the accommodation and dining amenities, Vernon Downs Casino Hotel features conference spaces and banquet facilities, enabling it to host business events and meetings, as well as weddings, family reunions, and other social events.
In addition, the Vernon Downs racetrack has lent itself to various entertainment events over the years, including concerts by Bruce Springsteen, Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, and many other famous artists.
Vernon Downs Casino Hotel history
Vernon Downs was first established as a harness racetrack on July 1, 1953. Only a few years later, it became one of the country’s most famous harness racing tracks. It hosted various major horse racing events, but it is most remembered for Adios Harry’s Miracle Mile record of 1955.
In 1994, a hotel was added to the premises. Following the fantastic success of most of its early decades, the 21st century brought detrimental financial difficulties for the racetrack. The reasons behind its downturn were the changing trends and the decrease in the popularity of harness racing, as well as the emergence of Native American casinos in surrounding areas.
Luckily, Jeffrey Gural, horse-racing enthusiast and American real-estate mogul, purchased the property in 2006, thus saving it from its imminent doom. Not only that, but the subsequent $4 million expansion added a casino, creating the property that we know today.