Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - The Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino held a grand opening event last night. The Casino had been operating out of a temporary structure since 2007.
Seneca Gaming publicity Manager Tony Astran says the new facility is a tremendous upgrade.
"With the temporary structure we have been seeing about 800,000 visitors annually" Astran said. "With the new Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino open, we are anticipating that number to increase to more than 3 million visitors annually."
Astran says the new building has been open for a few weeks, but last night marked the first time that the entire facility was open. "As of right now, everything is available on the inside. On the outside we're continuing to do work on the landscaping throughout this year. Once everything is all together, we're confident that as everyone passes by they're going to see that it's a really great compliment to the growing waterfront area."
But Casinos aren't always met with open arms.
Diane Bennett is the President of Citizens for a Better Buffalo, she says her group will continue to fight for the casino to be shut down.
"We all believe that the more gambling that goes on there, the worse it is for the city" said Bennett. "It is situated in one of the poorest zip codes in the country. It's predatory gambling that preys on those who have the least." Bennett also said that the bigger the casino is, the more it will hurt other entertainment destinations downtown.
Seneca Gaming argues that they will add to, not detract from, the other entertainment options in the city, citing promotions with the Buffalo Sabres and Bisons as ways they work with the community.
What do lawmakers think? Senator Charles Schumer says he isn't a fan of gambling, but if it's what his constituents want, he'll fight for it. "We've seen the Canada side of Niagara Falls grow, and we get a lot of Canadians who come here. Getting them to spend money in a variety of ways is a good thing" Schumer said.