Seneca Gaming Responds to Casino Study

Seneca Gaming Corporation, the operators of Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel, Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, issued the following statement in response to information presented to the Legislation Committee of the Buffalo Common Council:

“To clarify misrepresentations about our business, our gaming, lodging, food and beverage and entertainment operations provide considerable economic benefit to Western New York, above and beyond the 25 percent exclusivity payments on slot revenues. No other local entity has invested more than $1 billion in local economic development over the past eight years as the Seneca Nation has done. One need to look no further than the more than 3,600 jobs our facilities provide and our more than $110 million annual payroll – despite a down economy – to begin to understand the investment and impact the Seneca Nation and Seneca Gaming Corporation have made locally.”

“Our properties attract tens of thousands visitors each week, including an average of 14,000 weekly visitors at Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, making them among the most popular destinations in the region. While customer incentives do exist, a large percentage of our patrons pay cash for such items as show tickets, hotel stays and meals. Ignoring these facts and the obvious commitment by the Seneca Nation to the welfare of Western New York doesn’t seem to be balanced, fair and reasonable.”

“We believe that our properties and amenities provide an excellent complement to the marketplace. Seneca Nation and Seneca Gaming Corporation leaders have made a concerted effort in Buffalo to discuss how any future developments at the Buffalo Creek territory could work in a complimentary [sic] fashion within the larger economic development vision taking shape for the downtown area in closest proximity us. We remain encouraged by the energy and tenor of those conversations.”

About the author  ⁄ david steele

59 comments
Sally
Sally

Nothing is good enough for the City of Buffalo - which is exactly what they have been getting for the past 70 years now.

skybox
skybox

I am missing something that I hope someone can spell out for me. What I am reading from some of the more well respected BRO contributors is:

- Casinos are bad for Buffalo.

- Bass Pro is bad for Bffalo.

- New townhouses for the poor are bad for Buffalo.

- New homes that are similar to suburban homes are bad for Buffalo.

- The new development where KFC once stood is bad for Buffalo.

- Demolishing old grain elevators is bad for Buffalo.

- Parking lots are bad for Buffalo.

- A new hotel on Main street doesn't fit in Buffalo.

So what, besides new loft projects, is good for Buffalo?

Sally
Sally

Show me a link to any external site where the Seneca's announced any project for NFNY that they did not follow through on? Not speculation by outsiders but an announced project. You know really announced like BR's boy Issas 40 floor skyscraper, or Croce's Hotel at the Continental site or Termini's announcement last year for the AM&A's Store on Main Street, or Paladino's Court Street Tower

Sally
Sally

Why add up all the suburbs? Just add Cheektowaga, Amherst and Tonawanda (withiut the City of TOnawanda or Kenmore) and you have more people than Buffalo,72% of Erie County residents live outside the City of Buffalo, and 83% of all WNY'er (of the 8 western counties) live outside the City.

wnywatercooler
wnywatercooler

i love all the anti casino people still whining because they're incapable of closing the current casino which is DESTROYING that once beautiful area full of parking lots and the projects. a smaller scale than originally planned casino working with canal side is a win. end the lottery/hamburg/otb and scratch offs which are all over every city sidewalk on ride/walk down every single day before you bring up the loss of money because of a casino.

also all of the employees of the casino pay taxes and seneca gaming is a local company

ozzyop33
ozzyop33

Agree 100% -- So long as the project isn't overblown and enourmous it can only help down there. The "Cobblestone District" is nothing more than a block of crumbling, abandoned buildings, the arena and the redone buildings on Miss. St. and three huge parking lots.

Why not put an actual attraction down there to add to the atmosphere and number of attractions? It would couple well with the eventual waterfront development. It would NOT do well acting as a silver bullet, as seen in NF USA.

ozzyop33
ozzyop33

It was, it never came to fruition, but there was a time when the Senecas had plans to buy up and utilize three or four of the surrounding builings plus adding new builds to make the NF casino site more like a casino complex in Vegas. I remember seeing the renderings in the paper.

If only WNY was built on the renderings of all these projects, we would be such a great area to visit and live in :P

whatever
whatever

16th>"My taxes aren't paying for that porn store"

If anybody thinks the Seneca casino is publicly funded, I understand why they'd be against it and I would be too if it was.

However it's privately funded, so I have a live and let live attitude about it even though I don't enjoy casinos. Personal liberty is a good thing.

By the way, there are at least two publicly-funded casinos in WNY that are owned by NY state - one in Hamburg and one in Batavia. Why aren't those being protested against anywhere near as much as this privately-funded casino?

16th>"Hamburg race track is peanuts compaired to this proposed casino and hotel."

There's a casino in Hamburg, not just a race track.

It has over 900 slot machines and four restaurants. Read about it here:

http://www.bizjournals.com/buffalo/stories/2010/08/30/daily52.html

"The 66,000-square-foot center, with 939 slot machines... The new Hamburg Casino offers a fresh and modern entertainment destination to Western New York, said Ellsworth Gaskill, venue general manager. Besides the expanded slot machines operation, the Hamburg Casino operates four restaurants including the Midway Buffet and Cyclone Bar...."

16th>"I say we build it in say, Clarance. ( Bet we'd hear a lot less support!)"

It sounds like you're also unaware that as Sally noted the Senecas WANTED to build their casino in the suburbs. They even started trying to do that near the airport, but they were legally forced by a lawsuit from Buffalo to locate the casino in the city.

Perhaps you were too young then to hear about that, or maybe you lived elsewhere then.

Yes, that's right - the Senecas tried to put the casino in the suburbs instead of the city. They were legally stopped from doing that by Buffalo's city govt suing them to force it to be here in the city. Buffalo's city govt demanded that the Seneca casino be located in the city, over the objections of the Senecas.

rburgst614
rburgst614

That's a bit odd 16th street, because I live in the City and everyone I know would love a casino downtown. It would be something else to do downtown, and an attraction to draw people there, where as right now it only happens when there is an event at the HSBC arena. If you don't like the casino, then don't go to it, and stay away from it.

Your right it hasnt made Niagara Falls the destination of the world, but the money they have gotten from it have helped with projects

in NF and opened some new businesses around it, which would have never happened without that money. NF has not getten any worse since

it has opened, as bad as it sounds, it wasn't in the best shape before the casino

Urban Cowboy
Urban Cowboy

"two to three jobs per slot machine"

I wish we had that many jobs to lose.

Anyone that thinks that a Casino in downtown Buffalo is a bad thing doesn't realize that there isn't anything to destroy......

Go DT on a Monday night when there is no sabres game and try to find more than three restaurants that aren't in a hotel that are open.

The tax revenue and jobs will only help Buffalo...... There is nothing to lose....

Plus that area sucks. Build it and they will come....

LJPShow
LJPShow

Well last time I checked the numbers most people in WNY live outside of Buffalo. Add up all the suburbs and towns and they have a bigger population than Buffalo. Soooo technically Buffalo is the minority. Just saying!

chetroia
chetroia

Online gambling is already happening and growing. Also collecting the taxes would give a boost to new economic activity and create jobs for programmers, network engineers, customer service personnel, accountants, etc. These new workers will then have more disposable income to spend in other sectors and help create jobs in other industries.. Where losing tax base to the Indians. Stop giving away land in the city at taxpayer expense. Just make it legal.

chetroia
chetroia

Its already happening and growing. Also collecting the taxes would give a boost to new economic activity and create jobs for programmers, network engineers, customer service personnel, accountants, etc. These new workers will then have more disposable income to spend in other sectors and help create jobs in other industries.. Where losing tax base to the Indians. Stop giving away land in the city at taxpayer expense. Just make it legal.

RumRunner
RumRunner

"While customer incentives do exist, a large percentage of our patrons pay cash for such items as show tickets, hotel stays and meals"

I'd like to know how much of that cash is not spent at the casino and actually goes back into the community and not to the largely tax-exempt Seneca Nation.

I'm thinking close to zero.

Sally
Sally

Great idea, that way you could have all of the gambling issues without all that messy hiring of people to work in Casinos

Sally
Sally

They were publically funded improvement. The public monies used for those improvements were derived from the compact with the Seneca's. Without the Casino paying slot monies to the state and local governments the money for the streetscape improvements would not have been there.

Sally
Sally

No it wasn't

chetroia
chetroia

Make online gambling legal and collect taxes. There already doing it in Europe.

johnnywalker
johnnywalker

A study written by a professor in the Hospitality Industry who thinks he is an economist? His position was probably created at NU because of the Seneca Casino.

Sally
Sally

nor are they paying for the Casino's which have given a $700 million tithe to NY State since opening.

JM
JM

Let me ask a question to the anti-casino people. What do you realistically hope for?

The casino is there now.

I don't think it's going away, it's a matter of how they expand. Wouldn't it be better to work with the Senecas to get the most out of the deal?

hamp
hamp

No taxpayer funding in Niagara Falls?

The Third Street and Falls Street improvements were mostly publicly funded. The Casino itself is in a former tax supported public building that was handed over to the Casino. The Conference Center? Publicly funded. Wintergarden and its removal? Public. Community College and the former mall? Tax supported.

Even with all of this public money, the Senecas have still not delivered on revitalizing downtown NF. After 10 years there is little if any private spinoff investment.

Finally, did someone say that Buffalo is a bigger tourist draw than the Falls? With all due respect, are you out of your mind?

benfranklin
benfranklin

...if gambling isn't the issue, dare I ask, what is?

16thStreet
16thStreet

Gambling is not the issue. Hamburg race track is peanuts compaired to this proposed casino and hotel.

townline
townline

Dear Seneca Nation:

You just proved the point perfectly...

"One need to look no further than the more than 3,600 jobs our facilities provide and our more than $110 million annual payroll"

Right - and the opponents recognize those jobs, but like you said - you don't want anyone to look further than that to recognize the devastation that your type of business can do.

16thStreet
16thStreet

My taxes aren't paying for that porn store.

James
James

Ahhh. The never ending casino debates. Make them go away. Ahhh!

Jesse
Jesse

Stop it! You're not anti-casino enough to post here!

Jesse
Jesse

Pardon me for saying so, but who the hell cares if you and your buddies support a particular private enterprise?

I don't "support" porn stores either, but I will defend their right to exist.

The idea that the money going into a Casino just goes down into a black hole is just stupid. Their income is just like any other business income: The majority of it goes right back into running the business - and what does that mean? Jobs providing maintenance, jobs providing catering, jobs for new development. Paying the bills for what's already there (I don't hear you guys bitching about NYSEG's profits!).

Whatever's left over in profits gets raped by the state, and then whatever's left might make it to some investors and make a few people rich.

But it's complete leftist class warfare fallacy to suggest that all the cash thrown at slot machines and blackjack tables just disappears into Tonto's secret reservation bank vault.

JM
JM

You know they have one in Hamburg right?

rb09
rb09

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs.

I know several people working at the Niagara Falls Casino and the Buffalo Creek Casino that would have left WNY if it wasn't for their casino job.

A friend of mine is a blackjack dealer at he Niagara Falls Casino. He loves it. Makes good money, great tips and good benefits.

Tahooter
Tahooter

NF started out at zero, er, let's say way below zero in terms of attractiveness, vibrancy, etc. We can all agree that Buffalo is more attractive, more of a destination (for things other than a world's wonder), and definitely a more well-rounded community.

Buffalo Creek Casino has been open for years. Buffalo, downtown, has only gotten better in terms of economic development, perception and performance. So your point is meritless.

Having another entertainment option downtown to visit is a positive thing. It's not the only thing, not a panacea, just an option. Just as some people blow bucks on beer, drugs and women, some like to throw it into a machine. So what. It's not what I would choose to do, but I'm open to letting adults decide what to do with their own money. No one is forcing anyone to gamble, just like no one is forced to enter HSBC to spend 50 bucks on concessions during an overpriced hockey game.

Sally
Sally

Taxpayor dollars spent do not bring real economic vitality.

rb09
rb09

Jobs, Jobs , Jobs!

"One need to look no further than the more than 3,600 jobs our facilities provide and our more than $110 million annual payroll - despite a down economy - to begin to understand the investment and impact the Seneca Nation and Seneca Gaming Corporation have made locally."

There are many people working in the Niagara Falls Casino and the Buffalo creek Casino that would have left Western New York without those jobs.

A friend of mine works as a blackjack dealer at the Niagara Falls Casino and is doing great. He loves it. He has met many people from all over the world. He also makes more money and has better benefits then most of my friends that have college degrees.

Buffalo All Star
Buffalo All Star

Wasn't the original plan for Niagara Falls much much larger than what it currently is now? I'm talking disneyworld resort like level of gambling and hospitality services? I'm pretty sure I saw a picture (somewhere) with multiple hotels, a concourse to a larger performing arts center, and more buildings surrounding the current hall and tower. What happened to that? What happened to the great big plans they had for Buffalo Creek??

I still wonder how much opposition there would be if Buffalo and NF's take was higher lets stay 20% us 5% to the state. (DO YOU HEAR THAT POLITICIANS..GET MOVING..lol)

I don't think either casino brings in many out of towners because we as a whole region (Buffalo/Niagara) don't bring in nearly as many out of towners as I think we could. I bet the vast majority of customers in: Niagara Falls Ontario, Ft. Erie Ontario, Hamburg Racino, Seneca Niagara, Buffalo Creek, and the Salamanca casino all come from within TWO hours of those particular locations.

(Of course skewing these numbers a bit in the high seasons for all three casinos in Niagara Falls..basically the only time we have out of towners in town)

Tourism really isn't taken as seriously as it should be here, to say that the Buffalo Creek Casino would be local is correct. As it would be for the Buffalo Bills, Sabres, Bandits, new restaurants/bars, concerts etc.

Sally
Sally

i live on Mother Earth

RhodeIslandBoy2
RhodeIslandBoy2

I look forward to Buffalo Rising's next press release regurgitation. Perhaps from R.J. Reynolds touting the benefits of cigarettes.

saltecks
saltecks

And 16th st lives where?

ozzyop33
ozzyop33

Excellent points. The original casino plan was likely too big for Buffalo. What I mean is that it may have actually drawn money and jobs out of the economy. With a scaled back project with an actual casino (not the horse trailer they have now) in addition to an attached performance center, it would be an additional attraction downtown. Not to mention the proximity to the Arena and Waterfront, it creates another way to get people down in that district to hang out and spend thier money.

A smart plan of action could make this project as a successful addition to our city, not just an eyesore of unused steel and potentially lost jobs.

Mike Puma
Mike Puma

"No other local entity has invested more than $1 billion in local economic development over the past eight years as the Seneca Nation has done"

Ummmm doesn't UB contribute somewhere close to this to WNY EVERY year? Perhaps is less, I'm not 100% certain. All prejudices aside whether for or against gambling, someone needs to get some real facts about whether or not this is going to hurt or help...

Sally
Sally

They should have said no other non taxpayor funded entity has spent $1 billion private dollars. They did not consider spending of monies confiscated from taxpayors as an investment. i think they looked upon it as moregovernment spending on magic bullets.

Sally
Sally

So what you are saying is that instead of spending money on say the Buffalo Bills whose profits are then sent to Detroit the money might be spent at the Casino whose profits are kept and reinvested in WNY. And this is bad why?

Sally
Sally

They wanted to build it in the suburbs but City interest as is there way sued to stop it and forced them into the City.

benfranklin
benfranklin

Thanks to Buffalo Rising for showing some balance in allowing both sides to present their position.

Those against the Casino seem to view those not on their side, as being pro-Casino. I'd see the majority of WNY'ers falling somewhere in the middle. We're not anxious to see a Casino and it's negative consequences, but we're open to the idea that the city needs to move forward. It's not a silver bullet, but an incremental improvement.

As Steel pointed out yesterday, people can cross the border and gamble now. Why not keep some of those profits local? If gambling really is like 'crack', certainly the addicts are going over the border, leaving their money, and bringing the problems back home, where we deal with them.

Am I pro-Casino? No, but I am pro-Buffalo. We don't all need to be in lock-step with every development. I may not love Chippewa, but I understand where it fits in what the city needs to offer. That hardly makes me pro-Chippewa, just as tolerating the Casino development doesn't make me pro-Casino.

We seem to be at our most productive when we're attempting to limit what others might want to do. That's not what made our city once great, and it's not a blue print for future success.

Sally
Sally

For the most part people hang around like minded people so it is not surprising that if you are anti-casino that most of your friends would also be anti-casino.

Sally
Sally

The Casino helped tremendously. I have been there for restaurants and concerts. Without the Casino I would have no reason to ever visit downtown Niagara Falls. Also you can see how the City of NFNY has used Casino proceed to restore old Fall Street as well as Third Street. The Casino has done it's part, now it's up to other developers to do theirs. The Casino is bringing in thousand of people to NFNY that would otherwise not come. Now it's up to OTHER developers to give them reasons to visit their properties. That is NOT the responsibility of the Seneca's. They can lead the horse to water but cannot make it drink.

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