Tioga Downs Casino Resort is advising its hundreds of employees that they soon could be out of work unless New York State moves soon to allow for gaming facilities to reopen.

WNBF News/Roger Neel Photo

Tioga County Legislative Chair, Martha Sauerbrey says Jeff Gural, who owns Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs in New York, filed a WARN act notice July 13 saying the casino and resort in Nichols could close October 1, laying off over 600 employees.

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Sauerbrey says there is a lot of frustration over Governor Andrew Cuomo continuing to say experts are still evaluating whether gaming facilities can safely reopen after shutting down in March in response to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic while casinos like Tioga Downs have submitted what she feels are solid plans for operating under social distance and other health guidelines.

Photo by Kathy Whyte WNBF

Especially frustrating for the casino/harness track/hotel owners and local governments that rely on revenue from the destinations is the fact that similar facilities operated by Native Americans are opening, often with far fewer safeguards than those being proposed by the privately-owned casinos and resorts.

Sauerbrey says she continues to hope that the Governor will issue and order soon and Tioga Downs would reopen in August.