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Tioga Downs, local leaders demand state reopens casinos

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Tioga Downs Raceway

NICHOLS (WBNG) -- Tioga Downs is demanding the state allows casinos to open after remaining closed even after phase four of Governor Andrew Cuomo's reopening plan went into effect for the Southern Tier on June 26.

In a news conference on Friday, Tioga County officials asked the governor to provide some guidance so they may reopen.

The casino says if the governor offers guidance, one thing it will do to ensure everyone's safety is to take the temperature of all guests who enter the facility.

Broome County Executive Jason Garnar asks, "If Walmart can open, why can't Tioga Downs?"

Garnar says he was able to provide a tax cut last year due to the $1.5 million revenue the casino brings into the county.

At the conference Union workers also called upon the state to end of the difference between Tioga Downs and casinos on Native American territory, addressing the fact that the Turning Stone casino has been allowed to reopen.

Additionally, horse racing officials say if the racetrack at the casino is not allowed to reopen, they will be forced to take 200 to 300 horses to kill pens.

On July 16, Tioga Downs sent a WARN Notice to employees saying that if the casino's racetrack does not open before Oct. 1. 2020, it will be forced to close.

More than 600 employees will be affected should that happen.

State Senator Fred Akshar was also in attendance at Friday's news conference.

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