Seneca Niagara debut spawns early benefits

Jan 7, 2003 3:08 AM

BY GT STAFF / WIRE REPORTS

The Seneca Niagara Casino has been open less than a week and already the spin-off development has begun in Niagara Falls.

"Prior to the casino opening, we had already received inquiries about hospitality-related projects," said John Simon, executive director of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency. "We now have, in house, several proposals for hotel improvements."

The casino¡¦s grand opening New Year¡¦s Eve has also generated calls from out-of-town interests, according to Robert Newman, president of the Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce.

"We¡¦ve been getting a lot of inquiries at the chamber from Asia and other places all over the world," Newman said. "The calls started picking up in early December and they increased as the casino got closer to opening."

The Buffalo News reported that the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, a non-profit corporation in the city, has not received a lot of calls related to the casino opening.

"We do stand ready to handle any inquiries generated by the casino opening,"said Doug Sitler, the BNE¡¦s public relations director. "We¡¦re just as excited as everybody about what¡¦s happening in Niagara Falls."

The opening day of the casino went well except for some complaints from customers about not being able to collect their winnings immediately.

Some of the winners were so frustrated that they walked off without collecting their money. Casino officials said the hand payouts were set too low at under $2,000.

"That should not have occurred," said Mickey Brown, Seneca Niagara Falls Gaming Corp. president. "The threshold has now been set at $2,000, which should eliminate most of the delays."