Roger Neel/WNBF News [file][/caption]

The New York State Gaming Commission has awarded a casino license to Tioga Downs in Nichols.

The commission gave its unanimous approval for the license Tuesday afternoon. The commission seven months ago adopted a recommendation that the Tioga County facility should be allowed to operate a full-scale casino.

The license was awarded 1,029 days after New York state voters approved a constitutional amendment permitting casino operations.

Tioga Downs owner Jeffrey Gural has been working for years to obtain authorization for the casino.

Three casino projects were approved by the state commission for other sections of New York. Those developments are moving forward in the Finger Lakes, the Catskills and in Schenectady.

Gural repeatedly had said he had hoped the casino at Tioga Downs could open by the Fourth of July holiday this year. But the commission's review process kept that from happening.

Despite repeated delays, Gural had continued to express confidence that the license ultimately would be awarded. Tioga Downs development projects had been ongoing despite the lack of a formal license for the casino operation.

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