Slot machine manufacturer IGT (International Game Technology, and its affiliate, Sodak Gaming, Inc., last week launched the first installation of 1,800 gaming machines at the refurbished Niagara Falls Convention Center.
The new casino is scheduled open to the public as the Seneca Niagara Casino on New Year’s Eve. This opening is made possible because of the first Class III (Las Vegas-style) approved gaming compact between an Indian Nation and the State of New York.
Approval of Indian Gaming in the state was put on the fast track as a result of New York’s need for revenue after the 9/11 tragedy, but also because of the tenacity and conviction of the Seneca tribe.
"They steadfastly kept their eyes on the goal and surmounted many complicated legal, political and land-related issues," said Roland Gentner, Chief Executive Officer of Sodak Gaming.
The City of Niagara Falls Convention Center was transferred to the Seneca Nation and became part of Indian land. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) of 1989 allows for gaming on lands in trust as well as restricted fee lands. This marks the first use of restricted fee lands for a Native American casino property.
A total of 2,625 gaming machines will be installed at the casino, with more than 72% being IGT games. The games include Spam, Tabasco, Little Green Men Family Reunion and many of the latest MegaJackpots themes including Harley-Davidson, The Price Is Right, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, The $1,000,000 Pyramid, Spooky Slots featuring Elvira - Mistress of the Dark, and the very popular Wheel of Fortune. Games, which will be equipped with the EZ Pay Ticket System and the Advanced Casino Systems Corporation (ACSC) accounting software.
New York Governor George Pataki was authorized by the state legislature to enter into compact with Tribal Governments for six Indian casinos in Western New York. The St. Regis Mohawks and the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans currently have applications for land in trust at the Bureau of Indian Affairs and are developing plans for casinos to be built in the Catskills. Compact negotiations between the St. Regis Mohawks and the state of New York will be the next round of negotiations to be completed.
Seneca Niagara Casino will draw customers from northwestern New York (the cities of Buffalo and Rochester) and from Canada, which currently operates a large gaming facility on the other side of the landmark Niagara Falls. Toronto is only 83 miles away, and New York City is 411 miles away.
Sodak Gaming, Inc., a subsidiary of International Game Technology, is the leading distributor of IGT products in Indian Country.