Jeff Gural, owner of Vernon Downs, has shared that he managed to survive the 2017 harness season at his casino and racetrack thanks to the fact that the amount of taxes on the generated gaming revenues was reduced by the state of New York.
Mr. Gural further explained that he was planning a major change in the upcoming year, saying that he wanted to reduce the number of Vernon Down racino’s slot machines from 750 to approximately 550. According to him, the venue would become more spacious and inviting for customers after some slot machines are removed.
Apart from that, the catering business of the racino could undergo some changes, which according to the venue’s owner could end up generating more revenues.
Vernon Downs Could “Break Even” after Tax Reduction
Currently, the Vernon Downs venue operates as a racino, which also offers season-long harness racing typically from April to November and slot machines over the entire year. In addition, the venue is also known as a dining and entertainment hub.
According to information provided by Vernon Downs’ owner, the tax reduction made by the state of New York saved 300 jobs at the venue, not to mention that the casino managed to save an amount of between $10 to $12 million it usually pays to the state as education support. In addition, further $2 million in taxes paid to Oneida County and the town of Vernon were also saved by the operator.
As confirmed by Mr. Gural, he expects to “break even” or even generate a small profit at Vernon Downs in 2017 thanks to the tax reduction. Back in June, the Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state lawmakers of the state of New York agreed to cut the racino taxes on its slot machine revenues after Mr. Gural raised the red flag and revealed he was losing an amount of between $150,000 and $200,000 on a monthly basis at Vernon Downs venue. The racino’s owner claimed that the racinos across the state of New York were not fairly treated, as they were made to pay higher revenue tax to the state in comparison to the tax paid by full-service casinos that offered not only slots, but also poker and table games.
At the time, Gural claimed that the performance of the Vernon Downs racino was seriously affected by an earlier decision of the state to greenlight new full-service casinos that are not owned by Indian nations. According to him, the expansion of the Oneida Nation-owned casino venues further hit the Vernon Downs racino performance.
Tioga Downs Hotel Opening
Jeff Gural is also the owner of a new hotel that officially started operation yesterday. The 161-room Tioga Downs hotel is to have its grand opening at the beginning of December, but it has already opened certain floors for guests.
Mr. Gural called the opening of the hotel a “major milestone” in the facility transformation to a grand destination resort for the region. According to the hotel’s owner, it would be an attractive destination for the existing customers of the casino who plan extended stay.