Prominent gaming executive, Atty. Mickey Brown, has reason to smile now that the Seneca Niagara Casinos has completed its first year of operation. The casino is located in a transformed convention center that now provides 105,000 square feet of gambling space.
"It’s been busy, but very enjoyable," said Brown, who was hired by the Seneca Nation to run their casino. Brown, a former New Jersey gaming regulator, was prominent in the development and success of Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut for the Mashantucket Pequot tribe.
"I’m pleased with the strides we’ve made and the continued development," Brown said.
On the drawing board for the tribe is a $140 million hotel overlooking Niagara Falls. The Seneca Nation will break ground in April on the 26-story hotel that tribal officials say will be the areas first four-star hotel. The hotel will have 600 rooms and a full-service spa with a lounge on the top floor that will provide views of the falls’ brink and the Niagara Gorge.
The development is not being well received by the operators of the existing hotels who have complained that Brown and his staff haven’t reached out to the community to develop an economic partnership.
"That’s not my watch," says Brown, adding, "We try and complement them. If I bring 10,000 to 15,000 people into downtown Niagara Falls, some of them need a place to stay near the casino."
According to local officials, the casino averages about 12,000 customers a day and that number jumps to some 20,000 on weekends.
At year-end, the casino will pay the state $40 million as the state’s share of the casino’s slot machines. New York State will then give 25% of those funds to the Niagara Falls Casino Community Accommodation and Improvement Commission, a five-member panel responsible for maximizing benefits to the city from the proceeds.
"I’m very happy," Brown said in a recent interview. "The casino did extremely well in its first year and will do better next year. The following year with the hotel it will do much better. It’s been a successful business."