Vernon Downs Could Be Closing Their Racetrack Mid September
If you didn't know, Vernon Downs Casino is still closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Owner Jeff Gural is now saying there isn’t enough "purse money" to keep the racetracks open.
WKTV reports that Vernon Downs could close their racetrack mid-September. The tracks were allowed to operate during the pandemic, but, without fans at the races. However, money from the casinos helps keep everything operational.
“The horse racing is going to be decimated, because the purses for horse racing come from the slot machines,” he said. “So, there is no purse money. We've used it up. So, we are going to close up at Vernon at Tioga.”
The track at Vernon Downs was originally supposed to remain open until November. Those plans are now being changed.
Gural had to send layoff notices to 300 Vernon Downs employees in July under the Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act.
“I have reached out to the governor…now that people aren’t getting the $600…I said, ‘Listen you got to tell me what the plan is, so I should tell my employees whether they should hang in there, or look for another job,’” said Gural."
Both Vernon Downs and Tioga Downs are private casinos and have been closed since the beginning of the state-wide shutdown that happened around March/April of this year. Hundreds of casino employees have been furloughed since then.
Gural is working with town officials to have reached out to reached out to state Sen. Joseph Griffo for help. He urges Cuomo to allow the casino to open, which not only employs hundreds, but supports the local economy as well.