Celebrations held over the weekend

New York: Seneca Nation celebrates 20th anniversary of its Seneca Allegany Resort and Casino

Reading time 3:43 min

The Seneca Allegany Resort and Casino in the Allegheny Mountains is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The casino has been a tourist destination for the past two decades, in addition to employing hundreds of people and providing an additional source of income for the city and county via its casino revenue agreement with New York State.

Kevin Nephew, President and CEO of Seneca Gaming Corporation (SGC), told The Salamanca Press that the casino has been "a resounding success" by every measure. “We couldn’t be prouder of what the last 20 years have meant for our guests, our team, the Seneca Nation, and the surrounding community,” he added.

According to Nephew, the property’s success comes down to the quality guests find at Seneca Allegany, from the games and themes on the gaming floor and the comfort of hotel rooms to the restaurants and amenities. The casino's entertainment line-up is also an attraction, and that was the case for the anniversary as well.

Some events held for the 20th anniversary over the weekend included special outdoor shows with Taylor Shines on Friday and Big & Rich with Gretchen Wilson, Cowboy Troy, and DJ Sinister on Saturday.

“There is a reason people travel far distances from other states to visit Seneca Allegany,” Nephew said. “I think our people are the key to the world-class experience we offer. The quality of our service matches the quality of our world-class property. That makes the guest experience.”

Seneca Allegany Casino opened in 2004

The opening of Seneca Allegany Casino in 2004 was a monumental and meaningful accomplishment for the Seneca Nation, said Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong, Sr., who was serving his first term as President in 2004.

Even though they had opened the Seneca Niagara property in Niagara Falls in 2002, he said building and opening Seneca Allegany was a completely different experience.

Both casinos, and eventually Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in Buffalo, were important for the future of the Seneca Nation, but this was something that was right here, on our Allegany Territory,” he told the cited source. “It created a different connection for our people.”

All three casinos are important enterprises for the Nation and the Seneca people, Armstrong said. But the casinos are also important community assets, having been transformational for the Seneca Nation and for all of Western New York.

“For one thing, the casinos provide important employment opportunities and career paths in gaming and hospitality for our people,” Armstrong said. “Seeing Seneca professionals grow and develop into leading managerial roles at our facilities sets an encouraging example."

"Our people can see that there are rewarding opportunities available to them and that, with hard work and dedication, they can play an important role in an enterprise that is very important to the future of our Nation.”

First hotel tower opened in 2007

Compared to the casino’s opening in 2004, Seneca Allegany is almost a completely different property today. When guests first visited, there wasn’t a hotel, there weren’t multiple restaurants and there wasn’t a live entertainment venue.

In 2007, the first hotel tower opened with 212 rooms, spa and salon amenities along with multiple new restaurants and the expanded gaming floor. In 2008, the original casino space was converted into the Seneca Allegany Event Center, which welcomes entertainment acts on a regular schedule.

Seneca Allegany added the second hotel tower in 2012, bringing the total room count to 413. The Sports Lounge opened in late 2019 and a new restaurant, Toscana Grill, came online last year.

Our gaming floor is always being updated with the latest games, themes, and technologies to make sure our guests have the best possible experience waiting for them on each visit,” Nephew said.

A major economic engine for the tribe

Nephew said Seneca Allegany is an important part of the community, which itself is important to them since the property is located in the Nation’s Allegany Territory. First and foremost, he said, Seneca Allegany is a major economic engine.

We have approximately 800 employees earning millions of dollars in annual wages and benefits. We’re one of the largest employers in Cattaraugus County,” he said. “Our hotel is one of the largest in all of Western New York. We are regularly bringing people to Salamanca and the Southern Tier and giving them reasons to stay.”

Meanwhile, the success of casino operations has allowed the Nation to invest in its people and territories "like no other time", Armstrong said. The casinos’ success has helped the Nation create new housing opportunities on territory, upgraded important community facilities, and built new ones, such as purchasing the former Seneca Elementary School and creating the Seneca Arts and Learning Center.

“Our gaming enterprise is helping us transform every facet of life for our people,” he said. “We have proven over the past 20 years that the success of our gaming business supports the success and growth of the entire community.”

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