Tioga Downs was already a popular racino, like many other casinos in New York. It was never really a true casino, however, and that is now about to change. Becoming the fourth casino in the state of New York to receive a full casino license, Tioga Casino is prepared to make significant expansions and upgrades.
The process for complete casino gaming and resorts in New York has been a slow one. The approval for non-Indian casinos to be operational in NY dates back all the way to 2013, and only now are the casinos being named. Others in the state who received licenses include del Lago Casino, Rivers Casino, and Montreign Casino. New York officials say that the maximum number of approved casinos will not exceed seven, but that these new licenses could be issued in the immediate New York City area.
In addition to a now complete gaming floor, Tioga will also be opening a hotel, slated to hold 161 rooms. Beyond this, all of the traditional Vegas style features will also be added to the new Tioga casino, including, but not limited to several restaurants, a spa, concert area, and a full clubhouse. The casino (and soon to be resort) expects the entire project to cost around $122 million.
These new gaming licenses come at a time where the East Coast is fighting harder than ever for their share of the gaming market. Since Atlantic City peaked in 2006 with minimal competition, it has largely fallen off the map as Delaware, then Pennsylvania, then Maryland and now New York ramp up the competition. One state at a time, with NY now included, the East Coast has become heavily populated with casinos. This is bad news for all of the existing properties, but good news for players who no longer are required to travel hours in order to visit and stay at a casino destination.
The difference between gambling in New York and gambling in a place like AC is stark. You will be restricted, for the most part, to just one casino. You won’t be able to easily bounce around from casino to casino as many visitors in Atlantic City love to do. Beyond this, you don’t get everything that goes with a gaming town, namely the competition. Yes, these NY casinos will have their fair share of loyal players, but this will be with minimal competition. Look for things like weak table game payouts, poor video poker and slot machine payback rates, and so on.
It is great that gamblers in New York will not have more convenient access to legitimate, regulated casino play within their home state, but it is worth considering the benefits of traveling elsewhere from time to time too. Plus, who doesn’t like some people watching on the Atlantic City boardwalk?