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Tioga Downs Hopes Hotel Perks Up Revenue For Struggling Casino

Hotel reception desk with bell
Tioga Downs may be the oldest of the upstate New York casinos, but it is the last one to get its own hotel. Both Rivers Casino Schenectady and del Lago Casino already have hotels attached to their respective properties. Tioga Downs will officially open its own hotel in a matter of days though.

Tioga Downs hotel opens on Nov. 3

The smallest of the three casinos, Tioga Downs was a harness racetrack before converting to a full-scale casino last year. The next phase in its evolution is this new 161-room hotel. The new building includes:

  • Six stories
  • Three swimming pools
  • Event center/conference space
  • Banquet facility
  • Spa
  • Fitness center
  • P.J. Clarke’s restaurant

Like Rivers Casino, the Tioga Downs hotel is more of a boutique hotel than a massive resort. Currently the casino is the second-largest employer in the county. The hotel launch will only create more job opportunities for the people of Nichols, NY.

Can a hotel boost the casino’s revenue?

Tioga Downs is the smallest of the three new commercial casinos upstate. It also takes in significantly less revenue than its two competitors. However, there is a bright side.

All three casinos are not living up to revenue projections. Of the three though, Tioga Downs is the closest to hitting the benchmarks industry experts and lawmakers set for its first full year of operation.

The hope is the convenience of a hotel on property will give Tioga Downs a shot in the arm. When The Landing Hotel at Rivers Casino opened in July, the casino revenu spiked to $3.9 million for the month. That is not only the best month for Rivers since its opening month took in $3.7 million, it is also the top performance by any of the three casinos so far. This despite the fact that del Lago is the largest of the three venues.

Tioga Downs owner Jeff Gural certainly hopes his investment in the former racino pays off in a similar way. That is not to say he is optimistic though.

Earlier this year, Gural told Reuters what many others hypothesize is the problem behind the sagging revenues. Namely, that the upstate New York casino market is oversaturated.

“I think the market is saturated and we’ve got a lot of work to do to get the revenues where they need to be,” Gural explained.

Gural does not have only New York casinos to worry about either. Nichols, NY is just north of the Pennsylvania border, so Tioga Downs is also competing with Pennsylvania casinos like Mohegan Sun Poconos.

Jessica Welman

About

Jessica Welman is a longtime member of the poker media. She has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the Managing Editor for WSOP.com. A graduate of the University of Southern California and Indiana University, Welman is not only a writer but also a producer. She has been involved for livestreams for the WSOP and WPT and worked as a consultant on many other poker productions. She can be found on Twitter @jesswelman.