Facing a deadline of 11:59pm 10/24/02 to either approve or disapprove the Seneca Nation's gambling compact with New York State, that would allow casinos in Niagara Falls and Buffalo, Federal Secretary Gale A. Norton did neither Thursday, letting the deal take effect automatically at 12:01am on 10/25/02.
The unusual action prompted joy among casino supporters and was a major blow to casino opponents, whose only option now left to stop the casino is a successful lawsuit, which most consider a long shot. New York's Governor George Pataki called it "Tremendous news" and Seneca Nation President Cyrus M. Schindler Jr. was equally ecstatic.
Still neading approval is the land transfer in downtown Niagara Falls from the City of Niagara Falls to The Seneca Nation of Indians. When asked if he was concerned about land transfers or lawsuits, Seneca Gaming President Mickey Brown said, "I wouldn't be spending $500K a day in casino construction if I was concerned." Construction conversion on the Niagara Falls Convention Center, to turn it into the Senecas temporary casino, has been going on for over 3 weeks. The Senecas have also opened up a dealer training school in Downtown Niagara Falls in order to have personal trained by the scheduled December 31 opening.
Still no official name has been given to the new casino in Niagara Falls. Buffalo's casino is still on stand-by while the Senecas concentrate efforts on the Niagara Falls site.
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