Cha-Ching! Downtown Casino Opens To Curious Crowds
As morning turned to afternoon, after the first coin was ceremoniously -- and surprisingly -- dropped into a glowing slot machine, crowds of curious gamblers descended upon the newly opened downtown casino.
The Seneca Nation of Indians opened the doors of the temporary casino this morning, after the receipt yesterday of a letter from the National Indian Gaming Committee saying they met the approved federal requirements and were permitted to move ahead with the project.
"We're happy that we're up and operational, and look forward to success in the City of Buffalo, not just with temporary casino, but with what it opens the doors for us to do," said Phil Pantano, communications director for the casino. "We have our sights set on the grand, permanent casino that we want to build."
Opening the casino so promptly after hearing the decision allows the Senecas to fulfill, ahead of deadline, their obligation to the State to have three casinos in operation by December of this year.
When myself and some fellow BRO writers took the short walk over from our Cobblestone offices, we were inundated with pleas from passersby to be directed to the new casino. It is, after all, an understated blue shed with just a few thin letters separating it from any ordinary construction trailer.
Holed inside, however, the windowless building was abuzz with lights, sirens and hordes of people as all 124 slot machines got their first workout. There wasn't a free chair in sight as elderly couples and what seemed to be workers on their lunch break tested out their chance at winning.
The conflict surrounding the casino will certainly continue despite the opening, and the plaintiffs must decide whether or not to refile their original lawsuit. But if the crowds of people present on the unpublicized opening day are any indication, the Senecas will be more than willing to tough it out -- and take in the money -- while they wait and see.