Tioga Downs is moving ahead with an expansion project.
This spring, when weather permits, it will break ground on a new hotel, events center and 3-story parking garage. Tioga Downs is making the investment in anticipation that it will secure a full-fledged casino license from the state that would allow it to have table games. The enhancements to the Nichols facility will cost about 52 million dollars, including an eventual expansion of the main building to house table games. The Tioga County Industrial Development Agency has approved giving Tioga Downs future tax breaks totaling about $5 million over a 19 year period.
American Racing Entertainment's, Jay Dinga, says the deal won't impact current taxes Tioga is paying. But, it will help the company finance the upgrades. Dinga says, "The fact is we're going to create 70 full-time equivalent people when these construction elements are fully phased in. It's going to result in the first two years of an extra 2.1 million dollars in salaries and benefits with the additional people. At the same time we're going to be paying an additional 5.6 million dollars worth of taxes over those 19 years."
Linn Redder says, "It's all exciting. In this area we need something like this. We are the entertainment destination in 5 or 6 counties and we're very proud of that. It's just going to add to it."
Once the expansion is complete, Tioga Downs will employ about 400 people.