Nearly four years after the recession forced the Seneca Tribe to suspend work on its permanent Buffalo Creek Casino, construction crews have officially restarted the project in downtown Buffalo, New York.
According to the Buffalo News, the $130 million, 65,000-square-foot casino on the city’s waterfront is scheduled to open in the fall of 2013.
“This is a complement to what is becoming Buffalo’s new era,” said Seneca President Robert Odawi Porter of the region, a large portion of which is under redevelopment.
A temporary casino opened in July 2007. In 2008, construction on a larger, $330 million casino stopped because of the faltering economy. For nearly four years, the steel frame was a blight on the Buffalo landscape.
The permanent casino will have 800 slot machines—almost doubling the number at the temporary facility—along with 16 table games and a restaurant.
Robert Mele, chairman of the Seneca Gaming Corp., said the tribe is concerned about possible new competition if the state legalizes commercial gaming, but believes the new casino will put the Indians “ahead of the curve, ahead of the competition.”
Porter said the prospect of seven new casinos in New York state is “perhaps a possible betrayal and a breach of an agreement we entered into in good faith back in 2002. If the state government is the kind of business partner that 10 years into a 21-year deal, they just decide to change their mind, I think that harms more than just us.”