Industry Reports

NYS Racinos Eager to Receive Reopening Updates

New York State casinos may be on the verge of reopening, as this week is projected to witness an update on the subject. State Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-47, and Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, want to see the change take place as soon as possible. Vernon Downs Hotel Casino is threatened by permanent closure during these trying times and without gaming revenue to support it.

Mid-March, casino locations across the state announced their temporary closure due to the unprecedented situation and the ultimate goal of player protection. Casino staff members of both tribal and commercial casinos had to stay home and stay safe during these trying times. However, at the wake of this summer, some tribal venues decided it is safe to relaunch operation.

Relaunch Might Be on the Horizon

While this was happening, commercial venues had to remain closed, as they have to closely follow the recommendations and decisions of the government. More than five months after the lockdown has commenced, no timeline of the reopening of these venues has been issued. This week is projected to see more information on the subject, as Gov. Andres Cuomo highlighted recently.

While this is all happening, Vernon Downs and Tioga Downs overseen by a single owner are fighting to stay afloat and not see their permanent closure later on this fall. The racinos on the premise of both racetracks have not been allowed to relaunch operation in a safe manner and will all safety measures needed, thus there is no gaming revenue available to fuel their operation. State Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-47, and Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente seek changes.

They want Gov. Cuomo to shed more light on the commercial casinos’ future as soon as possible so that the two gaming locations could relaunch operation and save their daily work. As many as 300 job positions are on the line at the moment, as people do not have the right to return to their workplace.

What’s to Come?

Owner Jeff Gural recently pointed out that there is no purse money left for the two racetracks without casino operation and they will have to cut short the 2020 racing season mid-September. He stated that the two racetracks will have to bring their live racing season to a conclusion on September 13.

The last weekend that is expected to see live races at Vernon Downs and Tioga Downs will be September 12 and 13. The initial plan was for the live racing season to last all the way to September 19, but the lack of purse money would make that an unsustainable move, as the owner pointed out. Continuing live races could do more harm than good.

Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs were supposed to see three days of live races per week, but the unprecedented situation led to their reduction to only two days per week. The two racinos have already worked on various safety protocols in order to facilitate the reopening as soon as a green light has been given.