Casino opens in Niagara Falls
Associated Press/ - NIAGARA FALLS, NY - Niagara Falls hit
the jackpot New Year's Eve literally.
The Seneca Niagara Casino officially opened, bringing new jobs,
tourists, and the hope that the gambling haven will provide
a much-needed boost to the economies of the Seneca Nation of
Indians and Niagara Falls.
''It's a beautiful day, a day we've all been waiting a long
time for,'' said Rick Jemison, chief of staff to the Seneca
Nation's president. ''It's finally arrived.'' While Jemison
and others spoke at the opening ceremony, a crowd of impatient
gamblers stretched around the block chanted, ''Open the door''
and ''Cut the ribbon.''
held up the opening ceremony after Gov. George Pataki was delayed
and eventually canceled his appearance. By 1:22 p.m. the ribbon
was cut, and the first gamblers entered shortly afterward. By
4:00 p.m., there were about 4,600 people inside the 24-hour
Once inside, the gamblers weren't disappointed. ''It looks to
me like this could be a thriving place,'' said Cathy Paeth of
Bay City, MI, who had made a side trip to the casino while visiting
her sister in Buffalo.
Hamilton, a Seneca Indian, made the short drive from Tonawanda.
She and her husband, Rich, won $250 each about an hour apart
on two of the 2,265 slot machines.
who used to go to Casino Niagara across the river in Niagara
Falls, Ontario, said she will now gamble at the Seneca Niagara
casino. ''It's nice to put in American money and get American
York state and the Seneca Nation are banking on a lot of gamblers
putting money in. The casino could pump $3 billion into the
Seneca Nation's pockets over the course of a 14-year compact
with the state.
Pataki and the state Legislature, looking for new sources of
revenue to offset the economic turmoil caused by a faltering
economy and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, turned to casino
gambling in October 2001. The state negotiated a compact that
will mean up to six new casinos on Indian land, three in western
New York and three in the Catskills. The state expects roughly
$300 million a year from all the Seneca's casinos.
Early signs point to business improving. ''I stayed in a hotel
across the street and they said it's the first time it's been
booked full in they don't know how many years,'' former Seneca
Nation President Cyrus
Bowman brought his wife Lynn from Sea Isle City, N.J., about
13 miles south of Atlantic City, for their first trip to Niagara
Falls. ''I've seen a lot more good than bad,'' Bowman said of
Atlantic City. ''I don't see how (Niagara Falls) can lose when
you've got a gambling Mecca right in your own back door.''
Governor Pushes for Casinos
Associated Press/ - TOKYO, JAPAN – It was a
rare taste of Las Vegas in Tokyo, and for two days the
casino crowds hosted by Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara pumped
the handles of slot machines and bet feverishly on the
better known for his hawkish advocacy of building a stronger,
more assertive Japan, Tokyo's often controversial leader
has found a new cause celebre: legalized casino-style
capital is badly in need of money. Tokyo has been losing
money for four years in a row and suffered an $80.65 million
deficit in fiscal 2001. Tax revenue is expected to plunge
this year, prolonging Tokyo's
a report published in October, the Tokyo government estimated
that building casinos could generate $733.87 million in
casino revenues, $177.41 million in tax revenue and create
Japan's economy overall still in a downturn -- unemployment
is at record highs, banks are teetering under bad loans
and stock prices are at 19-year-lows -- Ishihara isn't
alone in courting casinos. More than a dozen mayors and
governors from across the country have voiced their support
for laws to expand the scope of legal gambling.
is no stranger to gambling. The law here prohibits gaming
and betting, but public-run gambling enterprises are common.
Gamblers can legally bet on the horses, on bicycle, boat
and auto races and also play the lottery.
"pachinko" pinball is also considered a kind
of gambling because a legal loophole allows winning prizes
to be exchanged for money. The annual payout amounts to
some $241.94 billion, about three times as much as Las
Vegas' annual earnings.