Wednesday, August 31, 2016

It’s official! Full casino gaming coming to the Southern Tier

Tioga Downs credits community, State for making it possible

Nichols, N.Y. - August 30, 2016 - After months of anticipation, it's finally official — The New York State Gaming Commission granted Tioga Downs a Class III commercial gaming license today.

The license will allow Tioga Downs to complete its transformation into a full-scale casino, replacing the current Video Lottery Terminals with slot machines and allowing the facility to add Blackjack, Roulette, Craps, a Poker Room and other casino card games that would be permitted by the gaming commission.

Currently, a multi-million dollar expansion underway at the racino will make way for the next generation of gaming.

The New York State Gaming Facility Location Board recommended Tioga Downs receive the state's final license last October, and today, the full commission endorsed the decision.

Tioga Downs owner Jeff Gural credits widespread public support for showing the commission that the community wanted to see casino gaming come to the Southern Tier.
"The community's outpouring of support has been invaluable towards making this happen. Your calls, letters and public comments made all the difference in making this happen for Tioga Downs," said Gural.
The announcement comes just as Tioga Downs opened up Virgil's Real BBQ earlier this month as well as the first finished section of the new gaming area.  In its first few weeks of operation, Virgil's Real BBQ has far exceeded expectations and is off to a great start.
Tioga Downs will also break ground on the new 161-room hotel and convention center on September 6.  This addition will further transform the property into a world-class resort.  The casino is continuing to hold job fairs and recruit new employees who will be needed to staff the expanded offerings.
This year marks the tenth anniversary celebration for Tioga Downs. The entertainment complex offers live harness racing and video lottery terminals, video poker and electronic table games. A variety of eateries are also part of the racino. Jeff Gural owns Tioga Downs in Nichols, NY and Vernon Downs in Vernon, NY. The New York State Gaming Commission has officially granted a full casino gaming license to Tioga Downs. An expansion is underway to complete the casino's transformation. In the last decade, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs have created more than 700 family-sustaining jobs and donated millions to nonprofit organizations. For more information on Tioga Downs, please visit www.tiogadowns.com.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Hometown Chef Taking Reins at Tioga Downs New Restaurant

Casino expansion adding flavor with local BBQ talent 

Nichols, N.Y. - July 11, 2016 - Live music and world class barbeque is a winning combination and it's coming soon to the Southern Tier. With Virgil's Real BBQ slated to open at Tioga Downs in August, they have the deck stacked in their favor with Executive Chef, Nicholas Donahue. A native of Conklin, New York, Chef Nick has the training and skills that would make any barbecue pit master proud. Trained under Virgil's executive chefs in NYC for the past month, Chef Nick is bringing the southern comfort of good BBQ to the North.

Born in Conklin and a graduate from Susquehanna Valley, Nicholas Donahue has felt the kitchen's ability to bring people together since a young age. Cooking class in high school made him realize he could have a career doing what he loves, and his upbringing reinforced his passion for good, home cooked food. "I cannot remember a time when we didn't have a BBQ smoker growing up. This is one thing my father always had and we used it every weekend," said Donahue.

Along with Chef Nick's expertise in the kitchen, he brings a level of authenticity and heart that is rarely found in today's restaurants. Caring about the customer means caring about the food and at Virgil's Real BBQ, everything is homemade. Detailing his experiences at Virgil's in his blog, Chef Nick shows the care that's put into the food right down to the warm, flaky biscuits and baked beans. To follow along as Nick heads up Virgil's at Tioga Downs, you can visit his blog at www.tiogadowns.com/dining/virgils/chefnick.

"We go above and beyond to not just meet customer expectations, we work to exceed them," Donahue said about the Virgil's Real BBQ staff. "We take the time to get to know every employee individually and forge positive relationships, so in turn, our employees can take that upbeat, positive attitude and make sure it reaches our customers."

Virgil's Real BBQ has its roots in New York City, created by restaurant entrepreneur Artie Cutler. Sampling the best that southern BBQ had to offer and creating a mouth-watering menu in the process, Cutler opened Virgil's doors in 1994 and has been a staple of Times Square cuisine ever since. For more information on Virgil's, please log on to www.virgilsbbq.com.

This year marks the tenth anniversary celebration for Tioga Downs. The entertainment complex offers live harness racing, video lottery terminals, video poker and electronic table games. A variety of eateries are also part of the racino. Jeff Gural owns Tioga Downs in Nichols, NY and Vernon Downs in Vernon, NY. Tioga Downs was recently recommended by the New York State Gaming Facility Location Board for a full gaming license. In the last decade, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs have created more than 700 family-sustaining jobs and donated millions to nonprofit organizations. For more information on Tioga Downs, please visit www.tiogadowns.com.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Tioga Downs hosts musical tribute to American rock band

Bon Jersey tickets now available for purchase

Nichols, N.Y. - July 11, 2016 - Fans of the American rock band, Bon Jovi, won't want to miss an upcoming tribute concert at Tioga Downs. Tickets to see Bon Jersey went on sale Saturday, July 9 at 9 a.m. The concert will take place Friday, August 26 at 9 p.m. in the trackside tent.

Performing everything from early Bon Jovi hits such as You Give Love a Bad Name or Bed of Roses to more recent releases, Bon Jersey has been entertaining packed crowds of fans for the past six years. The band members hail from all corners of New England and together earned Limelight Magazine's 2010 Tribute Band of the Year.

One concert-goer describes the Bon Jersey experience as almost identical to an actual Bon Jovi concert. The reviewer writes, "If you close your eyes, it sounds like Bon Jovi...when you open your eyes, Jon and Richie are right in front of you. Thank you for a great show!"

In keeping with its commitment to offer quality entertainment experiences to the community at affordable prices, tickets for the show can be purchased for $10 from all Ticketmaster outlets as well as the Tioga Downs gift shop.

This year marks the tenth anniversary celebration for Tioga Downs. The entertainment complex offers live harness racing, video lottery terminals, video poker and electronic table games. A variety of eateries are also part of the racino. Jeff Gural owns Tioga Downs in Nichols, NY and Vernon Downs in Vernon, NY. Tioga Downs was recently recommended by the New York State Gaming Facility Location Board for a full gaming license. In the last decade, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs have created more than 700 family-sustaining jobs and donated millions to nonprofit organizations. For more information on Tioga Downs, please visit www.tiogadowns.com.

Monday, June 13, 2016

They're Back! Camel and Ostrich racing returns to Tioga Downs

Special guest racers kick off Father's Day weekend events

Nichols, N.Y. - June 12, 2016 - Back by popular demand, camel and ostrich races are returning to Tioga Downs this year. The unlikely racers will take to the track June 17 and kick off a full Father's Day weekend of promotions and special events for dads and guests of all ages. Post time for the Friday night of racing is 6:30 pm.

It has been three years since the furry and feathered friends have stopped at Tioga Downs, but they have historically drawn large crowds. As in the past, there is no wagering on camel and ostrich races, which will take place between regularly scheduled harness racing that evening. One race will feature four camels competing to cross the finish line first, and three ostriches will vie for a separate title in their own race. The camels and ostriches that will participate in the exhibition come from Hedrick's Animal Farm in Kansas and travel all over the country performing at racetracks, fairs and other events.

The weekend of racing continues on Father's Day, Sunday, June 19 with a post time of 1:30 pm when the sport's fastest pacers come to town for the $180,000 Roll with Joe Open Pace. Fans will receive a collector's edition rocks glass (while supplies last). Dads can also celebrate their special day by entering two major contests. Top prizes up for grabs include a Massey Ferguson riding lawnmower courtesy of Clinton Tractor and a NY Yankees VIP trip, including a pair of tickets to a game and chauffeured transportation to and from Yankee Stadium.

This year marks the tenth anniversary celebration for Tioga Downs. The entertainment complex offers live harness racing, video lottery terminals, video poker and electronic table games. A variety of eateries are also part of the racino. Jeff Gural owns Tioga Downs in Nichols, NY and Vernon Downs in Vernon, NY. Tioga Downs was recently recommended by the New York State Gaming Facility Location Board for a full gaming license. In the last decade, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs have created more than 700 family-sustaining jobs and donated millions to nonprofit organizations. For more information on Tioga Downs, please visit www.tiogadowns.com.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tioga Downs hosts jam-packed Memorial Day

Deals, promotions, entertainment planned throughout weekend

Nichols, N.Y. - May 24, 2016 - Tioga Downs is gearing up for a big Memorial Day with four days of live harness racing, gaming floor promotions and deals on trackside food and entertainment.

The fun begins Friday, May 27 with a racing post time of 6:30 pm. Fans can enjoy deep food and beverage discounts with Dollar Days. Hot dogs, popcorn, Coke products, 10 ounce draft beers and racing programs can all be purchased for just $1. Inside the casino, $250 Free Play Hot Seats takes place from 7 - 11 pm.

Saturday's entertainment also consists of horse racing beginning at 6:30 pm with the addition of a special "60 Second Wagering Spree." Three contestants will be randomly selected from the drawing barrel prior to a designated race, and each winner will have 60 seconds to wager as many $2 exacta bets as they can with a designated live mutuel teller. Tioga Downs pays for all of the wagers, and the contestant keeps the winnings.

Entertainment continues in the tent outside with "Cans & Bands II," which will be headlined by musical guest "Zac Brown Tribute Band" at 9 pm. Guests can gain admission to the show for just $10 per person. Local band "The "Rum Runners" will open the show and perform from 5 - 8 pm. Inside the casino, guests can enter to win a 2016 Ford Mustang which will be given away at 11 pm.

Harness racing entertains fans again on Sunday with a 6:30 pm post time. The "Favorite vs the Field" contest allows guests to submit an entry blank supporting either the favorite horse or the field prior to the designated race. If the post time favorite horse wins, one winner will be chosen from the favorite barrel, and that person will win a $50 wagering voucher. If the field wins, one

entry will be drawn from the field barrel and win a $50 wagering voucher (unless the $2-win payout is greater than $50; then they will win the payout). Guests can also bring their May 2016 Tioga Downs Monthly Mailer to enter for a chance to win $500 cash at 6 pm, 7 pm, 8 pm and 9 pm (must be present to win).

Racing begins Memorial Day afternoon with a post time of 1:30 pm. Fans should arrive early to receive a free baseball hat which will be handed out beginning at 12:30 pm, while supplies last. Guests can also take advantage of a special holiday buffet brunch for $14.99 from 11:30 am - 8 pm.

Tioga Downs offers live harness racing, video lottery terminals, video poker and electronic table games. A variety of eateries are also part of the current entertainment complex. Jeff Gural owns Tioga Downs in Nichols, NY and Vernon Downs in Vernon, NY. Tioga Downs was recently recommended by the New York State Gaming Facility Location Board for a full gaming license. In the last decade, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs have created more than 700 family-sustaining jobs and donated millions to nonprofit organizations. For more information on Tioga Downs, please visit www.tiogadowns.com.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Tioga Downs Hosts Interview Days to Find Top Team for New Restaurant

Racino to Hire Approximately 70 People to Staff New "Virgil's Real Barbecue" Location

Nichols, N.Y. - May 9, 2016 - Those looking to join the Tioga Downs team will have a chance to apply for dozens of open positions at the new Virgil's Real Barbecue coming to the entertainment complex. Open interviews will be held for a variety of jobs on Saturday, May 21 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Tuesday, May 31 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Up to 70 people will be needed to fill hourly positions such as servers, bussers, hosts/hostesses, bakers and general culinary staff. Tioga Downs will be conducting interviews throughout both days, and hiring decisions will be made at a later time. Those interested in applying for openings should be available to work beginning in June. The restaurant's official opening date is set for Tuesday, July 19 at 4 pm.

The restaurant and bar will serve authentic Southern-style barbecue for dinner and become an after-hours live music venue on the weekends.

Virgil's Real Barbecue originated in New York City when Artie Cutler decided to open an authentic barbecue restaurant in the heart of Times Square in 1994. A second location serves customers at the Atlantis Resort in Nassau, Bahamas.  More information on Virgil's Real Barbecue can be found on its website, www.virgilsbbq.com.

As construction continues on a multi-million-dollar expansion to prepare for full gaming once a license is awarded, hundreds of additional positions are being created. Those interested in staying informed about future openings can register online at www.tiogadowns.com/expansion.

Tioga Downs offers live harness racing, video lottery terminals, video poker and electronic table games. A variety of eateries are also part of the current entertainment complex. Jeff Gural owns Tioga Downs in Nichols, N.Y. and Vernon Downs in Vernon, N.Y. Tioga Downs was recently recommended by the New York State Gaming Facility Location Board for a full gaming license. In the last decade, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs have created more than 700 family-sustaining jobs and donated millions to nonprofit organizations. For more information on Tioga Downs, please visit www.tiogadowns.com.

* Pending regulatory approval. Participation in the Fair, interviews, or training is not an offer of or guarantee of employment. You must be 18 to play video gaming machines. Please play responsibly. 24 hour problem gambling hotline:  1-877-8HOPE-NY.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Racing fans to watch, wager on Preakness at Tioga Downs

Simulcast of Nyquist pursuit of second jewel planned for May 21

Nichols, N.Y. - May 17, 2016 - Harness racing fans who won't want to miss Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist's pursuit of the second jewel of the Triple Crown will have to travel no further than Tioga Downs to watch the 141st Preakness on May 21. Live racing at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore begins at 10:30 am, and the Preakness post time is set for 6:45 pm.

Nyquist is already gaining attention not only for his 2016 Kentucky Derby victory but also for winning the 2015 Breeders' Cup Juvenile. This makes him only the second horse to complete the Juvenile-Derby double. His team sets their sights now on the next leg of a hopeful Triple Crown victory. If successful Saturday, Nyquist will advance to the Belmont Stakes June 11 and attempt to sweep the series.

Wagering on the Preakness will be open all day, and fans can enter to play "That's My Driver" for a chance to win up to $140. Five entries will be chosen randomly and awarded vouchers every time their chosen driver wins a race. Live local racing will begin shortly after the Preakness. Guests will also have a chance to participate in season-long promotions, such the "Horseplay Car Giveaway."

Tioga Downs offers live harness racing, video lottery terminals, video poker and electronic table games. A variety of eateries are also part of the current entertainment complex. Jeff Gural owns Tioga Downs in Nichols, NY and Vernon Downs in Vernon, NY. Tioga Downs was recently recommended by the New York State Gaming Facility Location Board for a full gaming license. In the last decade, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs have created more than 700 family-sustaining jobs and donated millions to nonprofit organizations. For more information on Tioga Downs, please visit www.tiogadowns.com.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Tioga Downs Hosts Interview Days to Find Top Team for New Restaurant

Racino to Hire Approximately 70 People to Staff New "Virgil's Real Barbecue" Location

Nichols, N.Y. - May 9, 2016 - Those looking to join the Tioga Downs team will have a chance to apply for dozens of open positions at the new Virgil's Real Barbecue coming to the entertainment complex. Open interviews will be held for a variety of jobs on Saturday, May 21 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Tuesday, May 31 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Up to 70 people will be needed to fill hourly positions such as servers, bussers, hosts/hostesses, bakers and general culinary staff. Tioga Downs will be conducting interviews throughout both days, and hiring decisions will be made at a later time. Those interested in applying for openings should be available to work beginning in June. The restaurant's official opening date is set for Tuesday, July 19 at 4 pm.

The restaurant and bar will serve authentic Southern-style barbecue for dinner and become an after-hours live music venue on the weekends.

Virgil's Real Barbecue originated in New York City when Artie Cutler decided to open an authentic barbecue restaurant in the heart of Times Square in 1994. A second location serves customers at the Atlantis Resort in Nassau, Bahamas.  More information on Virgil's Real Barbecue can be found on its website, www.virgilsbbq.com.

As construction continues on a multi-million-dollar expansion to prepare for full gaming once a license is awarded, hundreds of additional positions are being created. Those interested in staying informed about future openings can register online at www.tiogadowns.com/expansion.

Tioga Downs offers live harness racing, video lottery terminals, video poker and electronic table games. A variety of eateries are also part of the current entertainment complex. Jeff Gural owns Tioga Downs in Nichols, N.Y. and Vernon Downs in Vernon, N.Y. Tioga Downs was recently recommended by the New York State Gaming Facility Location Board for a full gaming license. In the last decade, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs have created more than 700 family-sustaining jobs and donated millions to nonprofit organizations. For more information on Tioga Downs, please visit www.tiogadowns.com.

* Pending regulatory approval. Participation in the Fair, interviews, or training is not an offer of or guarantee of employment. You must be 18 to play video gaming machines. Please play responsibly. 24 hour problem gambling hotline:  1-877-8HOPE-NY.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Tioga Downs live racing season opens Saturday

Nichols, NY --- As summer quickly approaches, Tioga Downs is pleased to announce an exciting season of harness racing.

The racing season will open southern style with a full day of contests, promotions and entertainment to celebrate the Kentucky Derby on Saturday (May 7). Derbyfest 9 begins at 9 a.m. and ends after midnight.

Promotions include a chance to win horse and jockey beads as well as a $500 cash prize for the most lavish southern fashion in a Derby Hat Contest from 2–4:30 p.m. The popular Derby Dream Bet returns, giving two lucky winners a chance to wager $500 on a single horse in the Kentucky Derby which has a 6:34 p.m. post time. Had last year's winner bet on American Pharoah, they would have won $1,950.

Guests can stay for Tioga Downs' first live harness race of the season with a 5 p.m. post time. Later that evening, visitors can expect $500 cash hot seat drawings every hour from 8 p.m. to midnight on the gaming floor. Live music will entertain audiences beginning with Virgil Cain in the Trackside tent at 4 p.m. and spectacular fireworks are planned at approximately 9:30 p.m. after racing concludes.

Sunday afternoon racing returns this season. Though guests must be 18 to place a wager, families are invited to visit Tioga Downs to experience the excitement of live racing.

All season long, guests can participate in the Horseplay Car Giveaway. For a $1 donation, people will have the chance to toss a mini rubber horse onto a moving car on the track. One winner each night gets $100 and an entry in the grand prize drawing to win a 2015 Toyota Yaris courtesy of the Williams Auto Group. A drawing for the car will be held on closing night. All money raised throughout the season is matched by Tioga Downs and donated to local charities. A different charity receives the proceeds each month. About $10,000 total is donated to charity each racing season.

www.tiogadowns.com

Friday, April 1, 2016

Popular polka music festival returns to Tioga Downs for third year

Polkapalooza III offers free entertainment for all ages

Nichols, N.Y. - March 19, 2016 - In celebration of the centuries old tradition of polka music, Tioga Downs is hosting the third annual Polkapalooza music festival Saturday, April 2 from 11 am until 8 pm. The free event is open to people of all ages and features performances by four musical groups throughout the daylong event. Bands will entertain audiences on two stages throughout the day and evening.

Polkapalooza III features the return of Joe Stanky and the Cadets, who have been a part of the event since the beginning in 2014. They will perform from 11 am - 1 pm on the Coasters Stage. The popular polka group has been performing together for more than 30 years at venues across the country.

Also back for a third time this year to entertain fans is Fritz's Polka Band, which will perform from 1 - 3 pm on the Tioga Stage. This New York-based group strives to break down stereotypes about polka music and aims to entertain fans of all ages. The band has remained together for nearly 40 years and was even inducted into the Syracuse Area Music Hall of Fame in 2010.

New to the event in 2016 is Salt City Brass, which will take to the Coasters Stage from 3 - 5 pm. This group has been performing together since 1966 and specializes in polka music but also plays a wide variety of musical styles.

The evening culminates with John Stevens Doubleshot, returning for a second year, on the Tioga Stage from 5 - 8 pm. Since its formation in 1995, the band has entertained on Polka Cruises and currently has more than a dozen CD releases. John Stevens Doubleshot performs with promoting polka music to the younger generation in mind.

"We enjoy hosting this popular event each year," said owner Jeff Gural. "Families look forward to a chance to hear this unique style of music and enjoy a day of wholesome and free entertainment."

Local media personalities Roger Neel and Bill Flynn will serve as the guest emcees.
 Tioga Downs offers live harness racing, video lottery terminals, video poker and electronic table games. A variety of eateries are also part of the current entertainment complex. Jeff Gural owns Tioga Downs in Nichols, NY and Vernon Downs in Vernon, NY. Tioga Downs was recently recommended by the New York State Gaming Facility Location Board for a full gaming license. In the last decade, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs have created more than 700 family-sustaining jobs and donated millions to nonprofit organizations. For more information on Tioga Downs, please visit www.tiogadowns.com.