Vernon Downs harness track owner Jeff Gural is warning New York legislators he may close the track and video gaming facility down if a tax relief bill isn't approved soon by the Assembly and governor and becomes law.
Vernon Downs, he says, currently pays a higher tax rate on its gambling earnings than its competitors. This week the State Senate approved a bill that offers tax cuts to the Vernon Downs racetrack and casino. The relief bill awaits Assembly action and the Governor’s signature. Gural has been concerned about lost earnings due to increased competition in the area.
Earlier this year, Gural delayed the opening of the harness season. Gural blames increased competition from full-service casinos in the region. He believes the proliferation of new full-service casinos upstate region is stifling the profitability Vernon Downs operation.
Local media report at least one of Gural’s partners is hoping Vernon Downs can become a full-service casino, as well.