Henrietta Casino: Good or Bad?

Henrietta Casino: Good or Bad?

News 8 talks to a Center for Governmental Research expert.
Casinos can bring jobs and visitors, but they can also cost nearby businesses and exacerbate problem gambling.

Kent Gardner of the Center for Governmental Research studied the possible impact of a casino on Rochester back in 2004. He did the study for Tom Wilmot, who was interested in partnering with the Seneca Nation on a casino at Midtown Plaza and the Sibley Building.

Gardner found a substantial positive economic impact, with 1,300 jobs paying $45 million. He also found there would be a social cost of about $10 million annually, from problem gambling. 

But a lot has changed since 2004. There are now more options for people to gamble. There are several casinos in the Buffalo area. Turning Stone has expanded. The Finger Lakes and Batavia Downs racetracks now have slot-like video lottery terminals. That could lessen the positive impact of a Rochester area casino, but Gardner still thinks the impact could be substantial, particularly for the Town of Henrietta, which could get payments from the tribe.

But some neighboring businesses could be hurt. "The game for a casino is to capture you and keep you," said Gardner. "They'll have restaurants. They may build a hotel. Who knows? Some businesses that are already successful on the service side in Henrietta may see some loss as a consequence."

Gardner believes the Senecas will try to capture more of the market to the east of Rochester, between Syracuse and Utica. He said Henrietta is a logical choice, as it's located right off the Thruway.

Click on the video above to watch our interview with Gardner.

2005 CGR Study on Seneca Niagara Casino

2004 CGR Study on Downtown Rochester Casino

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