From the Buffalo News:
Cha-ching! That was the jubilant sound from across the state last week as politicians began counting up casino cash they hope will soon roll in. The Catskills rejoiced at hitting the jackpot. The Southern Tier was shocked to lose out, and struggling Atlantic City breathed a sigh of relief that New York’s three newest casinos won’t be nearer.
But here’s a hard-luck tale that might make newly anointed casino towns think twice before counting their winnings. It begins with the same hopes for new jobs, boatloads of cash and an opportunity to rewrite the future. It ends, at least for now, with a city still struggling to pay its bills and more reliant on gambling dollars than ever.
It was December 2002, and the doors of the Seneca Niagara Casino were just about to open. The City of Niagara Falls was a tattered tourist destination with a world-class waterfall, a place with as many vacant storefronts as memories of the way things once were. The casino, residents were told, would bring the jobs, construction and city revenue they had been chasing in failed development deals for years.
But there were already signs the fine print wasn’t as good a deal as it could have been for the Falls.