Pataki ready to gamble

Aug 20, 2002 5:14 AM

It seems that New York Gov. George Pataki is finally ready to put his pen to the paper and grant the Seneca Indians the license to run casinos in Buffalo and Niagara Falls.

Pataki visited Niagara Falls on Sunday to sign the controversial gaming compact that had been bottled up for months in litigation.

The New York State legislature authorized casinos in the Niagara Falls area, the Catskills and other traditional tourist spots last October. Lawmakers also approved placing video terminals in the state’s horse racing tracks.

The sticking point between Pataki and the tribes, according to an Associated Press report, had been over the operation of the gambling halls and the labor agreement between the Senecas and casino employees.

Harrah’s expansion

The Harrah’s-backed Prairie Band Casino announced plans last week for a $55 million expansion that will include the addition of 198 hotel rooms and a 12,000-foot convention center.

"We’re moving toward a resort destination," the casino’s senior vice president and general manager Patrick J. Browne told the Topeka Capital Journal. "It’s going to continue to enhance the economic development of northeast Kansas."

The casino, located near Mayetta, opened in January 1998. Nearly 1.6 million people are projected to visit. The Wichita Zoo, Kansas’ second most popular tourist attraction, draws 400,000.

Boat makes splash

Atlantic City hotels are racing to steal the headlines away from the Borgata before the newest casino resort opens next summer.

Showboat topped off its 19-story hotel tower last week, according to the Press of Atlantic City. The expansion plans are reportedly 30 days ahead of schedule and in line with Showboat’s $90 million budget.

The Showboat will have 1,309 hotel rooms when the new tower opens June 1. Showboat ranked sixth among the city’s 12 casinos in revenue through the first seven months of 2002.