Tribe denies speculation over “dry” casino
By Paul
If the rumours are to be believed, there will be no alcohol served at the Seneca Indian casino planned for Niagara Falls. But the Seneca’s Tribal Council is refusing to be drawn into that debate.

The Tribal Council is expected to address the issue of whether to serve alcohol at its gambling tables in the next couple of months as it goes ahead with design plans for its first casino in the Niagara Falls Convention and Civic Center, according to Tribal Councilor Barry E. Snyder Sr.

'When you look at resorts and entertainment, you kind of expect it,' Snyder said of serving alcohol. 'It would be limited to a small area on location in the casino. People would not be able to take it out of the casino into the rest of our territory.'

Snyder stressed that the Tribal Council will make the decision on alcohol, but he dismissed reports in a Niagara Falls, Ontario, newspaper that alcohol was unlikely to be served because it violates tribal law.

Seneca officials said the Tribal Council determines what is and is not legal on tribal lands.

'They're getting scared. Don't be afraid. Competition is great. That's what it is all about,' Snyder said, referring to Casino Niagara in Niagara Falls, Ont., where alcohol is served at four casino bars and on the gambling floor. 'The American side is going to help the local economy.'

Casinos without alcohol are few and far between. But not everyone thinks alcohol is appropriate in casinos.

'In Las Vegas casinos, typically drinks are free, and they don't do that out of the goodness of their hearts. They know people who drink gamble more,' said Joel S. Rose, chairman of Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County.

A Niagara Falls, N.Y., casino would stop the flow of American gamblers spending money in the Canadian casino, but Rose insists the local economy would not improve. He contends that an Indian-run casino that can provide alcohol may hurt nearby establishments that serve alcohol.

'At long last we'll have people spending on this side of the border, but the community around the casino will be dying,' Rose said. 'The Native American facility won't be paying taxes on alcohol, and that's unfair competition to the bars.'

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