Tag Archives: gambling

Gambling to the Future

24 Oct

The Jobs Created by Legalized Gambling in New York


Courtesy Marquil at EmpireWire.com

Casino: Open & Legal

30 Jan

From the WNYMedia.net article:

A federal judge in Buffalo today rejected a motion to close the temporary Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino and hold in contempt the chairman of the agency responsible for approving its legal right to operate.

U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny issued the decision this morning, denying the assertion of the plaintiffs, including Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County, that the casino should be closed. The judge said that the National Indian Gaming Commission’s recent approval of the Seneca Nation’s right to have “Class III” gaming on its Buffalo Creek Territory does not conflict with earlier rulings the judge made in the case last summer. Continue reading

Meanwhile, in Niagara Falls

1 Aug

It looks like the completion of the Senecas’ luxury hotel in the Falls has opened up a bit of a market. The beautiful and historic Hotel Niagara will be undergoing a much-needed multimillion dollar renovation.

The operators of the nearby Conference Center Niagara Falls have said that a limited number of upscale hotel rooms in the city have limited their ability to book large events.

I wonder whether casino foes have produced or commissioned a study of the Seneca casino on the New York side with respect to the city economy. I mean, Niagara Falls, NY has been in the toilet economically for many years, and many Buffalo casino foes point to the the Falls example and crow that the surrounding area remains somewhat dilapidated. That, of course, is a silly argument unless one was operating under the premise that the casino could cure every ill. If anything, that casino brings people to the Falls who might otherwise go to the Canadian side. We are pulling in casino business from elsewhere. We are not cannibalizing the wonderful theater in Niagara Falls (which doesn’t exist) or the other high-end entertainment in the Falls (which, save for a few restaurants, doesn’t exist).

Likewise, I suspect that local dollars for a Buffalo Creek casino would “cannibalize” not so much ticket sales at Shea’s, (Joel Rose himself said on WBEN the other day that casinogoers “don’t go to the theater”), but would instead draw in money that would otherwise go to the bingo parlors and slots of Fort Erie, Irving, and Niagara Falls.

I don’t think anyone really believes that, and if nothing else there are loads of new downtown jobs in Niagara Falls that pay good money with benefits, and those jobs didn’t exist a few years ago. It’s not like those jobs cannibalized other jobs in other industries. It’s not like people went en masse from their jobs-for-life at Carborundum to start making beds or serving drinks or dealing cards. These had to be a net gain of jobs for that city.

It’s no wonder local casino opponents tend only to cite studies that are completed by PhDs who already subscribe to the anti-casino philosophy, and whose conclusions are no less subjective than those in a Seneca-commissioned study.

From the Federal Reserve’s Boston Branch:

Casinos that cater to a local market generally do not bring outside money into the economy through the spending of their patrons. In fact, such casinos may have no net ancillary economic impacts. Residents patronizing such casinos may simply substitute gambling for other goods and services. The secondary impacts of spending on the foregone goods and services would therefore be lost, offsetting any ancillary benefits from gaming expenditures at the casino. However, if a casino attracts gamblers who otherwise would be gambling out-of state, it can have net positive ancillary economic effects.

Nevertheless, a new casino catering to a local market can generate positive secondary economic effects through its employees if it induces an increase in total employment in and around its host community. Such affects are greatest for new casinos in areas of high unemployment (for example, rural Mississippi). Under such conditions, the increased purchasing power of workers who otherwise would be unemployed or “underemployed” generates multiplier effects. However, at the other extreme, a new casino in a tight labor market may cause competition for service sector labor.

Irony Defined

16 Jul

Almost immediately after pledging on Buffalo Issue Alerts to stop posting CACGEC updates at that listserv, Joel Rose posted this:

In the fight to keep casino gambling out of Buffalo and Erie County, the tide has turned, and we can now see victory within our sights. We have battles yet to wage, but Judge William Skretny’s decision of July 8, 2008, marked the turning point in our efforts.

As promised, we’re having a victory celebration party! We don’t have the details worked out yet, but we do have a place and a date, as well as a probable time. So I wanted to let you all know as soon as possible so you could mark the event on your calendars.

Date: Friday, August 15, 2008
Time: 7-10 pm (tentative, subject to change)
Place: Niagara Frontier American Legion Post 1041
533 Amherst Street (at Grant)
Buffalo, N.Y. 14207

By the way:

Bingo Night at the Niagara Frontier American Legion Post 1041 is Mondays at 7:30. KTHXBAI.

Meanwhile, at Buffalo Issue Alerts

15 Jul

This post from anti-casino activist Joel Rose:

Cynthia Van Ness, who runs the BfloIssueAlerts list, sent me a private note the other day which, with her permission, I want to share with you all. While it depressed me, I thought it captured the Seneca Niagara Casino perfectly. Here’s the note:

——– Original Message ——–

… I got my first look inside the Seneca Niagara casino on Monday evening. I was with a group of German tourists, and our hosts decided to have dinner at the casino buffet. It was a dramatic exercise in wretched excess. A gazillion deserts, all kinds of seafood flown in from who knows where, lots of red meat, you get the idea.

But quite apart from the food service, the place was dispiriting. The customers looked grim and visibly underwhelmed by all that manufactured “excitement.”

The private luxury surrounded by the public squalor of Niagara Falls made me ashamed of my country, ashamed in front of these German tourists to be an American.

My response:

I don’t mind reading Joel’s updates about the No Casino efforts, because it’s interesting from a political and “built environment” point of view, the latter of which renders it on-topic.

Although I agree with the issue that sovereign Indian exclaves should not be carved out of downtown to circumvent the state prohibition on Class III gaming, I do not subscribe to the whole “we have to protect people from themselves” aspects of the anti-gambling efforts. It’s patronizing and ignores loads of other, more pervasive, vices that are readily available in every neighborhood, which can destroy lives as handily as any casino debt bankruptcy.

So, when I read this patently off-topic opinion of Cynthia’s with respect to the buffet at the Niagara Falls Casino, I have to ask so what? Why is it here?

First of all, for most BIAniks, you’re preaching to the choir. Secondly, who cares? It’s a casino buffet – what did you expect? Ration cards and vegan food with lemongrass juice?

I’ve been to the Seneca Niagara casino on several occasions, and it’s not my cup of tea, but I leave it at that. I don’t judge the people who go, because it’s none of my business. Ever been to Oktoberfest? That’s just as much an exercise in wasteful excess as any casino buffet in the world, so the delicate sensibilities of the German tourists were, I’m sure, unoffended. Oh, and there’s loads of squalor juxtaposed with incredible wealth in Germany, so you needn’t feel quite so ashamed. Not only that, but casino gambling is quite prevalent in Germany: http://gogermany.about.com/od/nightlife/a/casinos.htm.

As to the “grim” “looks” on the patrons, unless you actually went and spoke with them, you have no idea whether they were really grim at all, or what they might have felt grim about. When I’ve been there, I’ve seen grim people and happy people. I’ve seen people smoking cigars, sipping drinks, playing blackjack, and having a good time. Ever been to the Fallsview Casino in Ontario? Gorgeous facility, amazing shopping and food within walking distance, happy customers, and loads of people having fun.

Buffalo Creek Casino – Open for Business

10 Jul

The Senecas are being quite clever with respect to Judge Skretny’s Monday ruling that the Senecas could not legally operate Class III gaming on Michigan Avenue.

They’re going to keep it open, and keep building the new casino, until the matter has been “finally resolved”, which means that it’s been decided by the Supreme Court, or by the 2nd Circuit and the Supreme Court declines to hear the case.

Since the Senecas aren’t a party to the lawsuit that led to Skretny’s ruling, they aren’t immediately required to do anything about it. Either the Justice Department or some other federal law enforcement branch will order the Senecas to shut down, or else someone will go to court and seek an injunction. To do that, they’d have to prove that there is an imminent threat of irreversible harm for which money damages would be inadequate. I don’t think the casino meets those criteria. After all, if the final decision of the courts is that the casino is illegal and must shut down, then all the Senecas have to do is lock the doors; the “harm” is reversible.

Personally, I do not at all like the idea of sovereign Seneca exclaves being carved out of urban property so that Class III gaming might take place there in contravention of the New York State Constitution. I would much rather that State law be changed to permit legal gambling under specific circumstances and regulations, which would keep the property on the tax rolls. I would much rather that the people of Buffalo and Niagara Falls and Salamanca at least had a direct hand in approving or disapproving casino gaming in their cities via referendum. I would much rather that the deal with the Senecas had been made directly between the Nation and the municipalities, so that the money received by the host community could have been maximized beyond the current fraction of a fraction of slot revenues that Pataki negotiated.

But Skretny’s decision is that the exclave-carving was perfectly legal and remains in place. So, my opinion on that issue is worthless, pending appeal. Assuming that the exclave is maintained, and assuming that the Senecas go back to the drawing board pending appeal and are able to finagle a way to maintain the Buffalo casino (which I fully expect them to do), then I hope they build something glorious that will help transform the Cobblestone and Canal Side areas into fantastic tourism destinations.

I want that Casino to encourage – not discourage – pedestrian traffic to and from the building so that it’s less of a fortress and becomes part of the fabric of that area.

The Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls is an example of a casino project that is integrated into its surroundings, offering a park overlooking the Falls, shopping, improved pedestrian access, and parking that is ample yet unobtrusive.