Tioga Downs & Vernon Downs To Remain Open

By Ben Hamill - July 22 2020
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Tioga Downs & Vernon Downs To Remain Open

Two of New York State’s largest harness-racing racetracks, Tioga Downs Casino Resort and Vernon Downs, are contrary to recent rumours, to remain open for business for the foreseeable future. This according to owner/manager Jeff Gural.

Gural said that even though the local horseracing industry has had to weather its fair share of challenges in recent times due to national shut-down orders, horse racing in the state is alive and well, and business as usual will continue – hopefully without any further interruptions.

Rumours pertaining to the racetracks facing possible closures come the fall have been circulating ever since a WARN notice got filed with the state on July 13. Any company going out of business is obligated to file an official notice according to the Federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification law. 

Read More...Harness Racing At Rideau To Resume June 7th 

The Misunderstanding

Gural says what may very well have stirred the rumours into motion were those documents filed relating to separate furloughs actioned earlier this year – right at the beginning of the nation-wide shutter-orders.

The March furlough notice informed state officials of a furlough process that would see some staff members out of work by September 30th. But according to Gural, those furloughs have absolutely nothing to do with the survival or possible closures of the two venues in question.

Since a ban on all casino gaming activities have taken a toll on the entire industry, including the two New York horseracing hotspots, explained Gural, staff cuts eventually became unavoidable.  The filed WARN notices are however not indicative of the present situation or of any permanent closures whatsoever.

A Struggle Without Gaming

Gural did however let on about the fact that he wasn’t entirely sure for how long the two businesses could manage to successfully remain afloat – specifically given the fact that the venues simply aren’t able to survive indefinitely without the added income generated by in-person casino gaming. Relying solely on horseracing, said Gural, isn’t a doable long-term solution.

The horse racing venues and the adjacent hotel towers are now officially permitted to do businesses, and as such, June 26 saw the two hotel towers next to the entertainment complexes reopen their doors in order to welcome guests. Gaming venues, however, are according to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to remain closed indefinitely.

Whether or not the rumours regarding possible October closures of the two venues are true, is more or less irrelevant when taking into account the bigger picture. If businesses aren’t able to open to full capacity very soon, more and more people will eventually become unemployed.

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