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Seneca Nation announces $40 million casino expansion

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

The Seneca Nation and Seneca Gaming Corporation on Friday announced a plan to expand the Buffalo Creek Casino, creating new gaming space and a new restaurant space on the upper level. When finished, an estimated 300 new jobs are expected to be created.

The announcement comes about two years after the Senecas opened their permanent casino facility in downtown Buffalo. That development came years after the Seneca Nation first bought up the space off Michigan Avenue between Perry Street and South Park Avenue, creating a sovereign territory within the City of Buffalo.

Seneca Nation President Maurice John, acknowledging the other economic developments that have sprouted up just blocks away in Buffalo, said the Buffalo Creek Casino is in the "epicenter for excitement."

"It is energizing to see the wave of progress that is sweeping across the city," President John said. "It is a good feeling to be part of this renaissance that we are enjoying at present."

Construction is set to begin in October. The anticipated completion is in early 2017.

Seneca leaders note that they are funding this project entirely, with no grants sought. Remarkably, the final approval of the investment came only a short time before the news conference announcing the project was held.

"Although we've known about the idea and mulled it over for several months, as is the way of our government we brought it before the people this morning," said Seneca Tribal Councillor Rick Jemison. "We discussed it for several hours before a vote was taken."

The additional gaming that comes with the expansion includes 360 new slot machines and 10 additional table games, including a high-limit room. The new eatery set for the upper level, a Western Door Steakhouse, will feature indoor and outdoor seating and is already honored as the signature restaurant at the Senecas' other two Western New York gaming facilities in Niagara Falls and Salamanca.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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