City awaits casino decision - Tuesday 12th of July 2005

With the gaming arm of the Seneca Nation of Indians likely to make its decision on the location of a downtown casino by Labor Day, Buffalo leaders are starting an 11th-hour blitz to make sure the venue lands within the central business district.

The outreach will be based on how much input the Seneca Nation of Indians actually wants from Buffalo leaders.

So whats Buffalos game plan?

An open-door policy.

"Im available anytime," says Buffalo Mayor Anthony Masiello.

Seneca leaders confirmed this week that they expect to make their decision by the end of summer in order to meet a Dec. 9 deadline imposed by a 2002 compact they signed with New York state.

Off the table is any notion of building a casino in suburban Erie County. That idea was squelched last year by the state Supreme Court.

"We know it has to be in the Buffalo city limits," says John Pasqualoni, Seneca Gaming Corp. president and CEO. "Thats all we are willing to say."

Neither Pasqualoni nor Barry Snyder Sr., Seneca Nation of Indians president, would identify downtown sites under consideration.

Sources say such places as Statler Towers and the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center remain at or near the top of their short list, although both Pasqualoni and Snyder declined to comment on the street buzz.

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