Tioga Downs the First of Many Casinos to Open in Upstate New York


There is a lot of competition for casinos in the northeast region of the country – even with Atlantic City experiencing a massive decline – but a number of new openings are expected to saturate the market. Tioga Downs will be the first of five new casinos to open up shop.

Tioga Downs Casino opened their doors on December 2, becoming the first casino to open up in New York since a bill passed to open state-regulated casinos back in 2013. The plan is to follow that up with casinos in the Catskills, the Finger Lakes and Schenectady, which will join five more casinos that are run by the native tribes that live in the state.

Tioga Downs is located in Nichols, which is just north of the border between New York and Pennsylvania, and the casino features over 900 slot machines, over 30 table games, and there is a 161-room hotel that is currently under construction that is slated to go up. It should give the local economy a boost as the plan is to create jobs within those casinos in terms of the construction and day-to-day operation of it. Beyond that, government money earned on tax dollars has already been earmarked to help the local education system.

But the question is whether or not there are enough players in the neighborhood to support all of the casinos that are opening up shop. Not only will there be a slew of them in New York, the northeastern part of the United States is already crowded with a number of big brands operating in nearby states. There’s Delaware and Maryland, and more states around them that are loosening the laws to allow casinos to go up. It seems like government leaders have finally realized the revenues that can be reeled in from the casinos and now want a piece of the pie.

Some experts are worried that the market will be flooded with options, which is great if you’re a bettor, but it’s not great for businesses. There’s also the lure of going to Las Vegas – the ideal spot for gamblers – and the attraction of playing online. At some point, the gambling outlets will outnumber the demand for gambling, and that could be a problem.

As far as upstate New York is concerned, though, that is a risk that they are willing to take as they’ve been hit hard by unemployment. A number of factories have closed over the last two decades and Binghamton, which is 30 miles east of Nichols, is also in bad shape. While Tioga Downs isn’t going to save the area, they’re hoping they can generate over $30 million in revenue along with almost 800 jobs, which would be a big help.

If Tioga Downs is successful, it’ll be interesting to see if the other planned casinos go up any faster than currently planned. It was the last of the group to receive the license to build but they were the first to the finish line. As of now, the others – Montreign Resort Casino in Sullivan County in the Catskills; Rivers Casino & Resort at Mohawk Harbor in Schenectady; and del Lago Resort & Casino in Seneca County in the Finger Lakes – are all slated to open up in 2017.