Only one casino bid for New York State’s Southern Tier

By Tom Lewis
Bidding for a casino licence in New York’s Southern Tier ended on Monday 6 July with only one proposal submitted to the state’s Gaming Facility Location Board, report the New York Times.

Real estate developer Jeffrey Gural, owner of the Tioga Downs racetrack, submitted plans for a casino worth nearly $200m at the racetrack site in Nichols, New York site, complete with 1,000 slot machines, 50 blackjack and roulette tables and a 161-room hotel.

A second bid from financier Jeffrey Hyman, to build a major casino development in Binghamton, was dropped at the last minute, leaving the Gural submission uncontested.

A total of 16 proposals for the regions north and west of New York City were reviewed by the Gaming Facility Location Board in December, three of which were accepted, alongside two rebuffed bids to develop casino sites in the Southern Tier.

New York State Governor Cuomo received criticism from Southern Tier residents and their elected representatives at the time for his stance that a casino development would do little to rejuvenate the economically deprived and sparsely populated region.

Governor Cuomo then asked the Board to solicit new bids for the region, with Gural’s proposal now the sole contender for the new southern tier license.

Albany-based businessman Hyman cited a discrepancy with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as the reason for his eleventh hour withdrawal.

His investors dropped out over the alleged ineligibility of Hyman’s Binghamton site for tax credits under a state programme designed to aid developers who renovate former industrial sites, although the site’s ineligibility has since been denied by the environmental department.

Hyman’s bid had received enthusiastic support from Binghamton City Council, while the city’s mayor, Richard C. David, described the withdrawal as a “tremendous loss” for the city’s residents.

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