One problem is the state allowed racetracks to get video slot machines, possibly in violation of the Senecas’ exlcusivity clause. The Senecas are now withholding payments to the state and city, meaning Niagara Falls has lost out on $60 million so far.
But let’s just say the city got its $60 million. Would the area around the casino no longer be blighted? Would there be more restaurants and hotels? Would there be the kind of technology companies moving into town that create high-paying jobs? I suspect not. The city is in such bad shape, it has to pay people to move there.
“I don’t see how I’m benefiting from any of this,” said Joey Sedore, who lives a block from the towering Seneca hotel.
Sedore, 35, has lived downtown all his life, and he still doesn’t feel safe walking his kids down the streets around the casino.
“It really hasn’t transformed anything except that property right there,” he added, pointing to the casino.
It’s hard to find out what many of the restaurant owners around the casino now think – 10 years later, many have gone out of business.
“We can [only] do so much,” said Seneca President Barry E. Snyder Sr.
“Our effect on Niagara Falls has been medium,” he added. “There was this expectation that we would be the golden goose, we would create all this stuff flourishing in the city, and that hasn’t happened.”
The Senecas’ compact with the state is up in 2016. Meanwhile, the governor would like to legalize full-fledged non-Indian casinos, allowing up to seven of them across the state.
Debt-ridden cities across the country are authorizing casinos, but there’s no such thing as easy money. Study after study shows casinos are crappy economic development tools. The state should look at Niagara Falls’ experience very closely before getting into bed with gambling.
Links of the Day:
– The sale of the Spengler home may have sent William Spengler over the edge.
– Two hundred volunteer firefighters from Erie County attended calling hours for their fallen comrades.
– Before New York lawmakers legalize medical marijuana, they will have to get the governor on board.
– The Buffalo Bills appear set to dismiss Chan Gailey and Buddy Nix this week.
– Lurid details of the Buffalo Troopergate party that led to an arrests and multiple firings are contained in court papers.
– Check out this Victorian house for sale in Weedsport, along with the photo gallery.
– More than two thousand bikers ruined a family’s cruise with their belly flop contests…and hair.