The proposals of the three casinos vying to open in the Southern Tier-Finger Lakes region under New York's gaming expansion were made public Wednesday by the New York State Gaming Commission.

The proposals of the three casinos vying to open in the Southern Tier-Finger Lakes region under New York’s gaming expansion were made public Wednesday by the New York State Gaming Commission.

There are three contenders - Tioga Downs, Traditions Resort and Casino, and Lago Resort and Casino - and summaries of their plans are now posted online.
Under the casino expansion approved by New York voters last November, four new “destination gaming resorts” will be allowed.

There will be at least one casino in each of three regions - the Capital Region, the Catskills/Hudson Valley, and the eastern Southern Tier, which includes a slice of the Finger Lakes extending north.

There will be no more than two casinos in any of the three regions. The new resorts will be located away from the areas which already have tribal casinos. Some would be entirely new facilities, and others would be conversions of existing venues.

A glance at this region’s applicants:

• Tioga Downs, which opened in 2006 with harness racing and video lottery games, is located along Interstate 86 in Nichols, between Elmira and Binghamton. It’s the closest to the Corning area, about a 45-minute drive.

Owner Jeff Gural is planning to convert Tioga Downs into a casino with 50 table games and 1,000 slot machines. There will continue to be harness racing, simulcast wagering and lottery games.

Tioga Downs is also building a 136-room luxury hotel with parking garage, event center, fitness center and day spa, pools, water slides, and five restaurants, including a PJ Clarke’s. He also offer golf at nearby Tioga Country Club.

A second phase will add an Adventure Center with batting cages, rock climbing and mini-golf, as well as two more restaurants.

The racino says it would pull workers from the economically distressed cities of Elmira and Binghamton, as well as from the Ithaca area to the north. It would pull visitors not only from the Southern Tier, but also from Pennsylvania, where it has been losing gamers to the Mohegan Sun that opened at Pocono Downs in 2013.

• Traditions at the Glen Resort is located in Johnson City, in the Binghamton area.

It has a golf course, spa, 41-room boutique hotel, and meeting and banquet facilities. It currently hosts golf tournaments, weddings, corporate events and fundraisers, according to its application, which boasts of “a hilltop setting and scenic views.”

If the casino license is awarded, the owners plan to add a 450,000-square-foot expansion onto the existing hotel, which will include 160 more hotel rooms, a parking garage, casino floor, restaurants, and retail space.

There would also be an outdoor stage on a surrounding parcel of land that can host crowds of 15,000 to 35,000, and big-name touring performers would be booked, the application said.

The owners, the Walsh family, are partnering with Seneca Gaming Corp., which runs casinos in Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Salamanca.

Traditions touts easy access to I-86, I-81 and I-88, and would pull visitors from both New York and Pennsylvania, who would frequent hotels, restaurants and attractions in the greater Binghamton area, the application says.

• Lago Resort and Casino is being proposed by Wilmorite, a real estate development company, on an 84-acre parcel in Tyre, Seneca County.

The site is located at the north end of Cayuga Lake, near the intersection of the New York State Thruway and State Route 414.

It would have a casino, 208-room hotel, spa, pool, two nightclubs and several restaurants, and is promising to create 1,000 jobs. It will “enhance the wine and food tourism industry of the Finger Lakes,” the application says, and draw visitors from Rochester, Syracuse and beyond.

The casino floor would have 85 table games and 2,000 slot machines.

There are nine contenders vying for licenses in the Catskills/Hudson Valley region, and five in the Capital Region.

The executive summaries for all the applications are posted online at

The Gaming Commission is expected to select the winning bids in early fall.