BUFFALO, NY (BUSINESS FIRST OF BUFFALO) -- According to its earnings report for the 2009 fiscal year, which was issued Tuesday, the casino-and-gaming-operations arm of the Seneca Nation of Indians saw declines of five percent for the quarter and 7.2 percent for the full year in gaming revenues.
Both the quarter and fiscal year ended on Sept. 30.
Seneca Gaming operates the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel in Niagara Falls, Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in downtown Buffalo and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel in Salamanca.
In hard numbers, for the fourth quarter, gaming revenues fell from $163.44 million in 2008 to $155.26 million in 2009. Non-gaming revenues were off 9.9 percent, dropping from $30.39 million to $27.39 million.
Gross slot-machine revenues fell 4.7 percent to $144.1 million, while net table-game revenues were off 7.9 percent, decreasing to $14.4 million for the quarter.
Seneca Gaming's numbers mirror the entire gaming and casino industry, which is mired in a deep slump because of the weakened national and international economies.
"Fiscal Year 2009 was challenging for Seneca Gaming Corp., and for the gaming industry as a whole, due in large measure to the unfavorable economic climate," said Catherine Walker, Seneca Gaming chief operating officer and principal executive officer.
Still, Seneca Gaming fared somewhat better than other casino-based organizations.
"SGC's consolidating gaming revenues for the fiscal year decreased only 7.2 percent while comparable decreases in commercial casinos approximated nearly 14 percent," Walker said.
For the full 2009 fiscal year, Seneca Gaming's gaming-based revenues fell from $632.58 million to $586.77 million, a decrease of $45.8 million.
Non-gaming revenues -- those from foods, hotel operations and entertainment -- were off 9.5 percent, dropping from $117.06 million to $105.98 million, a slightly more than $11 million decrease.
Because of concerns about the economy, Seneca Gaming announced in August 2008 that it was suspending expansion plans in Salamanca, Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Putting those plans on hold led Seneca Gaming to include a $107.6 million construction-based write-off in its filing.
"While our decision to suspend such projects was difficult to make at the time, in retrospect that decision helped enable SGC to strengthen its liquidity position and refocus on providing the highest quality gaming and service offerings to our patrons," said Jeffrey Gill, Seneca Gaming chairman.
Seneca Gaming, however, did embark on a $9 million expansion of Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino. When the 5,300-square-foot addition opens this spring, it will add 223 more slot machines to the South Park Avenue venue.
In addition, 577 new slot machines have been ordered for Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel.