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Buffalo Officials Cheer Coming Casino

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Mayor Masiello says he believes a casino in the Cobblestone district will fit in well with HSBC Arena and a future Bass Pro.

He says it is a key component for economic development in Buffalo.

Quoting a famous line from the movie "Field of Dreams, "Masiello believes if you build it, they will come.

"You build Bass Pro to one side of the canal and create a casino on the other side of that canal in the Cobblestone neighborhood and the private sector will flock to that location," said Masiello.

The Mayor is convinced that a casino in the City's Cobblestone-waterfront district has the potential to attract private sector investors in "droves."

"They are drooling to get in there, that is good because it creates jobs and revenues and then there is less dependents on government subsidy."

The nine acres of land purchased by the Seneca's is off the City tax rolls. But Masiello says it will generate more tax revenues for Buffalo than what is currently collected.

Right now it produces close to $300,000 in property taxes with zero revenues from the D-L and W terminal. Masiello says the casino would generate 7-to 8-million in the first year alone and upwards to 12 million dollars in the out years.

"The tax issue isn't a fair one, and not an accurate one, because the money that would go to the City from the casino will far exceed the current revenue we are getting from that site or other sites that are off the tax roll," Masiello.

Creating a destination that will attract people is what the president of the Buffalo Niagara Convention and Visitors Bureau believes will happen. Richard Geiger also wants a casino in the Cobblestone district.

"The casino can exist either as an island or part of a holistic experience down there," said Geiger. "Either way it still works. You have HSBC Arena, you will have Bass Pro and some museums, plus the Inner Harbor Canal Development."

But what it first promises to create is jobs. According to Masiello, a city casino would generate one-thousand new jobs, giving some Western New Yorkers a chance to be gainfully employed.