10-K 1 a08-31100_110k.htm 10-K

Table of Contents

 

 

 

UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

Form 10-K

 

x

 

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(D) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

 

 

 

 

For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2008

 

 

 

 

 

OR

 

 

 

o

 

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

 

 

 

 

For the transition period from                     to                   

 

 

 

 

 

Commission file number 333-117633

 

SENECA GAMING CORPORATION

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

Not Applicable

 

54-2122988

(State of Incorporation)

 

(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)

 

310 Fourth Street

Niagara Falls, New York (Seneca Nation Territory) 14303

(716) 299-1100

(Address, including zip code, and telephone number,

including area code, of registrant’s principal executive offices)

 

Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

None

 

Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

None

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.

 

Yes  o  No  x

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act.

 

Yes  x  No  o

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.

 

Yes  x  No  o

 

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in any definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.   x

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company (as each is defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).

 

Large accerated filer  o        Accelerated filer  o        Non-accelerated filer  x        Smaller reporting company  o

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).

 

Yes  o No  x

 

The registrant is a wholly-owned governmental instrumentality of the Seneca Nation of Indians.

 

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE:     None

 

 

 



Table of Contents

 

SENECA GAMING CORPORATION

 

Form 10-K

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

PART I

 

 

 

 

 

Item 1.

Business

3

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

24

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

42

Item 2.

Properties

42

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

43

Item 4.

Submission of Matters to a Vote of Security Holders

48

 

 

 

PART II

 

 

 

 

 

Item 5.

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

48

Item 6.

Selected Financial Data

48

Item 7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operation

51

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

71

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

72

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

72

Item 9A.(T)

Controls and Procedures

72

Item 9B.

Other Information

73

 

 

 

PART III

 

 

 

 

 

Item 10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

73

Item 11.

Executive Compensation

77

Item 12.

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

85

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions

85

Item 14.

Principal Accountant Fees and Services

88

 

 

 

PART IV

 

 

 

 

 

Item 15.

Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

88

 

Signatures

89

 

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements intended to qualify for the safe harbor from liability established by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  The words and phrases “believe”, “anticipate”, “expect”, “will”, “estimate”, “intend”, “plan”, “project”, “will be”, “will continue”, “will likely result”, and similar expressions, as they relate to us or our management, indicate forward-looking statements.  Similarly, statements that describe our plans, business, strategy or goals are all forward-looking statements.  These forward-looking statements are subject to numerous risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those expressed in or implied by these forward-looking statements.

 

Factors that could cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the risk factors set forth in Item 1A. of this Annual Report on Form 10-K and the risks discussed in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.   Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements which speak only as of the date of this filing.

 

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We assume no obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

 

PART I

 

Item 1.                                    Business

 

Except as otherwise indicated by the context, in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, or this Annual Report, we refer to (1) Seneca Gaming Corporation as “SGC” or “the Company,” (2) Seneca Niagara Falls Gaming Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of SGC, as “SNFGC,” (3) Seneca Territory Gaming Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of SGC, as “STGC,” (4) Seneca Erie Gaming Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of SGC, as “SEGC,” (5) Lewiston Golf Course Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of SNFGC, as “LGCC,”, (6) Seneca Massachusetts Gaming Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of SGC, as “SMGC,” (7) the Seneca Nation of Indians, as “Nation”, “Seneca Nation” or “Seneca Nation of Indians,” (8) the Nation-State Gaming Compact between the Seneca Nation of Indians and New York State, dated August 18, 2002, as the “Compact”, and (9) SGC, SNFGC, STGC, SEGC, LGCC, and SMGC collectively, as “we,” “our,” “ours” and “us.”  SNFGC, STGC, SEGC and LGCC are sometimes collectively referred to as the “restricted subsidiary guarantors”, based on their respective guarantees of SGC’s obligations under the senior notes.  Our fiscal year ends on September 30.  “Fiscal 2008” is defined as the fiscal year ended September 30, 2008, “Fiscal 2007” is defined as the fiscal year ended September 30, 2007, and fiscal years prior to 2007 are defined similarly within the context of this Annual Report.

 

General

 

SGC is wholly owned by the Nation and chartered to develop, manage and direct all of the Nation’s Class III gaming operations on the Nation’s territories in Western New York. SGC was chartered by the Nation in August 2002.  In August 2002, the Nation entered into the Compact with New York State that provides the Nation with the right to establish and operate three Class III gaming facilities in Western New York.  We currently operate three Class III gaming facilities in Western New York—Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel, which is located in the City of Niagara Falls, New York (Niagara Territory) and operated by SNFGC, approximately 20 miles north of Buffalo, New York; Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, which is located in the City of Salamanca, New York (Allegany Territory) and operated by STGC, approximately 60 miles south of Buffalo, New York and 75 miles northeast of Erie, Pennsylvania; and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, which is located in the inner harbor district of Buffalo, New York (Buffalo Creek Territory) and operated by SEGC. Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel opened on December 31, 2002 (initially, as the Seneca Niagara Casino).  Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel opened on May 1, 2004 (initially, as the Seneca Allegany Casino).  Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino commenced operations on July 3, 2007 in a temporary facility.  Our three casinos are located on land held in restricted fee by the Nation, which, together with the rights under the Compact, allows us to conduct Class III gaming operations in Western New York. See “Item 3 - Legal Proceedings” for a discussion of various legal proceedings potentially affecting our gaming operations in Western New York.

 

Our principal executive offices are located at 310 Fourth Street, Niagara Falls, New York (Nation Territory) 14303, and our telephone number is (716) 299-1100.  We make available, free of charge, through our corporate website, www.senecagamingcorporation.com, our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and, if applicable, amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 as soon as reasonably practicable after they are electronically filed with, or furnished to, the SEC.  We are not including the information contained on our website as a part of, or incorporating it by reference into, this Annual Report.

 

The websites for our Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel properties are located at www.senecaniagaracasino.com and www.senecaalleganycasino.com, respectively. The Nation also furnishes information about SGC and its properties at www.sni.org.   The information on these websites is not part of, or incorporated by reference into, this Annual Report.

 

SENECA GAMING CORPORATION, SENECA NIAGARA CASINO, SENECA NIAGARA CASINO AND HOTEL,  SENECA ALLEGANY CASINO, SENECA ALLEGANY CASINO AND HOTEL, SENECA BUFFALO CREEK CASINO, SENECA PLAYERS CLUB, SENECA LINK, and THE WESTERN DOOR are registered trademarks in the U.S.  All other trademarks, trade names and service marks appearing in this Annual Report are the property of their respective holders.

 

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Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel

 

Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel is located on approximately 45 acres in the City of Niagara Falls, New York (24 of which are currently owned by the Nation and constitute its Niagara Territory), and offers gaming, entertainment and related amenities.   Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel is SGC’s flagship resort property intended to attract mid to high value gaming guests looking for a full service gaming resort destination.  Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel is open 24 hours per day, seven days per week and is our flagship gaming facility.  We opened our original Niagara Falls gaming facility on December 31, 2002 in the former Niagara Falls Convention and Civic Center.  Since opening, we have continued to invest in facilities and equipment at this property.  On December 15, 2005, we opened our expanded gaming floor, which added approximately 950 slot machines and 20 table games.  On March 31, 2006, we completed the phased opening of our luxury hotel, along with all other amenities.  SGC’s aggregate capital investment in the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel (inclusive of design, construction, furniture, fixtures and equipment) as of September 30, 2008 was approximately $521,000,000.

 

As of September 30, 2008, Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel featured:

 

·

 

over 147,000 square feet of Class III gaming space with 4,112 slot machines; 102 table games, including, but not limited to, blackjack, craps and roulette; and keno;

 

 

 

·

 

604 luxury hotel rooms, including 118 suites of various sizes;

 

 

 

·

 

a full-service luxury spa, salon, and fitness center;

 

 

 

·

 

food and beverage amenities, including three full-service themed fine dining restaurants, a 400-seat international buffet, two casual dining restaurants, a walk-up delicatessen, a snack bar, and four bars and lounges;

 

 

 

·

 

five retail stores;

 

 

 

·

 

a 25,200 square-foot multi-purpose entertainment and special event facility, and a 468-seat showroom;

 

 

 

·

 

8,000 square feet of conference and banquet space; and

 

 

 

·

 

a 2,300-space parking garage, surface parking for over 1,400 vehicles, and a transportation center.

 

Niagara Falls Real Estate Acquisitions

 

In 2002 and pursuant to the Compact, the Nation acquired from the State of New York approximately 24 acres of land and related improvements in the City of Niagara Falls, New York, including the then-Niagara Falls Convention Center.  The State of New York further agreed in the Compact to assist the Nation in whatever manner appropriate, including through the exercise of its power of eminent domain, to acquire the remaining acreage within the approximate 50-acre footprint in the City of Niagara Falls, New York, designated by New York State under the Compact for ownership by the Nation. The Compact specifically excluded approximately 1.5 acres of land within the footprint owned by a Roman Catholic Church.  Additionally, in July 2006, the Nation agreed to waive its right to acquire approximately one half acre of additional land within the footprint owned by End Time Handmaidens, Inc., a religious organization.  In return for the waiver, the Nation obtained a right of first negotiation and refusal with respect to the future sale of those parcels.  As a result of the carve-out relating to the acreage owned by the Roman Catholic Church, and the Nation’s agreement with End Time Handmaidens, the total acreage of the Niagara Territory upon completion of the condemnation process is anticipated to be approximately 48 acres.

 

We have obtained possession of, either through eminent domain proceedings or private purchase, substantially all of the remaining acreage within the footprint, other than certain streets owned by the City of Niagara Falls providing access to the above church acreage, and a bike path owned by the New York State Department of Transportation. We expect to acquire this remaining acreage in 2009.

 

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With the exception of approximately two acres of land and a hotel property within the footprint together acquired for $7.9 million through a private sale in December 2005, substantially all of our post-2002 acquisitions within the footprint have been accomplished through condemnation proceedings pursuant to New York State Eminent Domain Procedure Law, or EDPL.  The amounts paid to condemnees from whom we have acquired property are deemed to be advance payments, in that property owners are entitled to reserve their rights to challenge the appraised property values determined by the condemnor’s appraisers.  To date, all record owners from whom property was acquired pursuant to the EDPL have reserved rights to claim additional compensation.  If a court determines that the value for the land and improvements is higher than the appraised value we paid to a condemnee, then we may be liable to the condemnee for the difference and potentially also responsible for certain additional costs and payments to the condemnee, such as attorneys’ fees.

 

We continue to proceed with a master planning process for the development and utilization of the full 48-acre Niagara Territory footprint and integration of the Niagara Falls facilities with those on or planned for the Allegany and Buffalo Creek Territories.  As we continue to plan future development at all three facilities, we intend to have them complement each other, offering diverse hotel, entertainment and gaming experiences to our guests.

 

Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel

 

Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, our second Class III gaming facility, is located on the Nation’s Allegany Territory in the City of Salamanca, New York.  Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel offers Class III gaming, entertainment, lodging and related amenities.  Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel caters primarily to middle-market, drive-in patrons from its primary and secondary markets and is open 24 hours per day, seven days per week.    Seneca Allegany Casino opened on May 1, 2004.  On March 30, 2007, we opened a 212-room resort hotel, including food and beverage and other amenities, which followed the December 28, 2006, official opening of a new permanent gaming floor.  In March 2008, we completed the conversion of the former temporary casino structure into an event center and additional administrative office space.  SGC’s aggregate capital investment in the Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel (inclusive of design, construction, furniture, fixtures and equipment) as of September 30, 2008 was approximately $361,000,000.

 

As of September 30, 2008, Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel featured:

 

·

 

over 63,500 square feet of gaming space with approximately 2,330 slot machines and 40 table games, including, but not limited to, blackjack, craps and roulette;

 

 

 

·

 

212 luxury hotel rooms, including 28 suites of various sizes;

 

 

 

·

 

a full-service luxury spa, salon, and fitness center;

 

 

 

·

 

food and beverage amenities, including two full-service themed fine dining restaurants, a 322-seat international buffet, a 24-hour casual dining restaurant, a walk-up delicatessen, a snack bar, and two bars and lounges;

 

 

 

·

 

a multi-faceted retail store, including logo merchandise, sundries, etc.;

 

 

 

·

 

a 20,000 square-foot multi-purpose entertainment and special event facility; and

 

 

 

·

 

a parking garage for approximately 1,840 vehicles; and surface parking for approximately 1,050 vehicles.

 

Construction on our next phase of development at Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, planned to include an additional 200 room hotel tower, and up to 30,000 square feet of additional gaming space and related amenities, for a total estimated cost of up to $130 million, was suspended on August 27, 2008 due to various factors, including challenging economic and capital market conditions, demands on our available cash and increased competition and construction costs. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors. We may not be able to generate enough cash flow, or obtain financing, to complete our current and any future expansion projects” for a discussion of related matters.  We continue to monitor these factors and ongoing developments.

 

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Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino

 

In addition to Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, we operate a  third Class III gaming facility which is located in Erie County, New York. This Class III gaming facility is referred to as Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino.

 

On October 3, 2005, the Nation acquired approximately nine acres of land in the inner-harbor district of downtown Buffalo, which constitutes the Nation’s Buffalo Creek Territory.  Initially, the nine acre parcel was bisected by a two block section of a street owned  by the City of Buffalo (Fulton Street).  In November 2006, we acquired this two block section of Fulton Street from the City of Buffalo for a purchase price of $631,600.

 

In order to meet certain requirements of the Compact, on December 8, 2005 we began construction of a temporary Class III gaming facility on the Seneca Buffalo Creek Territory.  On July 3, 2007 we commenced operations at this gaming facility which consists of approximately 6,000 square feet and features 135 slot machines and a snack bar.  During the quarter ended March 31, 2008, the temporary facility was expanded to include an additional 109 slot machines. The current temporary facility is approximately 8,600 square feet, and features 244 slot machines and a snack bar.  SGC’s aggregate capital investment as of September 30, 2008 in the temporary gaming facility in Buffalo, New York (inclusive of design, construction, furniture, fixtures and equipment) was approximately $12,100,000.

 

On October 3, 2007, we formally announced our plans for a permanent casino and hotel complex on the Buffalo Creek Territory having an estimated cost of $333 million. At that time, the permanent Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino and Hotel was expected to feature approximately 90,000 square feet of gaming space, 2,000 slot machines, 46 table games, a 22-story all-suite hotel, four restaurants, a full-service spa and salon,  retail and other amenities and a 2,200-space parking garage.  On August 27, 2008 we suspended construction due to various factors, including challenging economic and capital market conditions, demands on our available cash, and increased competition and construction costs.  We continue to monitor these factors and ongoing developments.  SGC’s aggregate capital investment as of September 30, 2008 in the permanent gaming facility in Buffalo, New York was approximately $82,000,000.

 

SGC’s ability to continue operation of the temporary Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, and its ability to complete the permanent Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino and Hotel, as well as the timing of any opening of the permanent Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino and Hotel, will depend on various factors as discussed above, as well as the outcome of existing legal challenges.  See “Item 3 - Legal Proceedings” for a discussion of existing legal challenges regarding our Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino. See also “Item 1A. Risk Factors. We may not be able to generate enough cash flow, or obtain financing, to complete our current and any future expansion projects” for discussion of additional risk factors relating to completion of the permanent Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino and Hotel.

 

Status of Former Class II Operations

 

As of January 1, 2005, we transferred all Class II gaming operations to the Nation, which included our poker operations at the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino.   The Nation, through its wholly owned business enterprise, Seneca Gaming & Entertainment, currently operates the Class II poker operations at Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, in addition to two Class II gaming facilities located on the Nation’s Territory in the City of Salamanca and Irving, New York, respectively.   The transfer of the Class II operations as of January 1, 2005 was consistent with our understanding of the Nation’s Council’s (the Nation’s legislative body) intent that we manage and operate the Nation’s Class III operations and that Council directly manage and operate the Nation’s Class II operations.

 

Lewiston, NY Golf Course Development

 

In March 2006, we acquired 257 acres of land with the intent to design and build a championship level golf course in Lewiston, New York, approximately eight miles from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel.  We selected the Robert Trent Jones II firm to design the golf course, which will be named Seneca Hickory Stick Golf Club.  Construction of Seneca Hickory Stick commenced in July 2007, with an anticipated opening in Spring 2010 at an approximate cost of $25.5 million.  The Nation formed the Lewiston Golf Course Corporation, as a subsidiary of the Seneca Niagara Falls Gaming Corporation, to own and operate the golf course.  LGCC has engaged Kemper Sports Management, Inc. to manage and operate Seneca Hickory Stick Golf Club on its behalf.

 

Massachusetts Gaming Development

 

During Fiscal 2007, at the request of the SGC board of directors, the Nation’s Council chartered Seneca Massachusetts Gaming Corporation as a wholly-owned subsidiary of SGC to explore gaming development opportunities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  We continue to monitor events in connection with the Commonwealth’s ongoing

 

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consideration of legislation allowing for Class III or similar type gaming.

 

Business and Marketing Strategy

 

SGC believes that it is the premier gaming operator in Western New York State and in the areas of Northern Pennsylvania and Ohio located within its primary and secondary markets. Since the December 31, 2002 opening of the Seneca Niagara Casino, SGC has invested significantly in the development, expansion and maintenance of its gaming facilities, including the completion of the hotel and gaming projects at Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, and the opening of the temporary casino on the Seneca Buffalo Creek Territory.  These investments have enabled SGC to maintain its position as the premier gaming operator in the region described above.  To further that objective, and to provide for expanded opportunities in the convention and tourism markets, a master planning process continues with respect to the Niagara Falls, Allegany and Buffalo gaming and related facilities. A principal goal is for the facilities to complement each other, offering diverse hotel, entertainment and gaming experiences for guests.

 

SGC continues to believe the Western New York markets for Class III-type gaming and related hotel and entertainment amenities are underserved, and that the exclusivity provided in the Compact gives SGC the opportunity to serve these markets by providing patrons with unique entertainment and gaming experiences.

 

SGC’s gaming facilities are intended to provide a high-quality and diverse gaming experience that SGC believes will add to its patron base and strengthen patron loyalty in each segment of the gaming market.  In order to maximize income from operations, SGC attempts to coordinate advertising, promotions, entertainment and special events to minimize competition among its gaming facilities, and integrate administrative and information technology functions.  As slot play currently represents approximately 89% of SGC’s consolidated gross gaming revenues, SGC also strives to offer the most current selection of slot machines in order to provide cutting-edge options for guests, and to differentiate it from the regional competition.  SGC plans to continue to brand the Seneca name through advertising and promotion of its Seneca Link Player’s Card, which is accepted at all of SGC’s facilities.The key components of our integrated marketing plan include the following:

 

·           Promote the Seneca Brand Name.     The successful operation of Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel has established Seneca as a leading gaming brand in the region.  We plan to continue to capitalize on this brand recognition by prominently incorporating the Seneca name at all of our gaming and entertainment facilities.

 

·           Incorporate the Seneca Link Player’s Card.     We encourage guests to sign up for a Seneca Link Player’s Card, and to use their Player’s Card at their venue of choice.  Guests accumulate points at our facilities and may redeem them at any of our casinos.  Our player’s club card program enables us to understand our guest preferences by providing us with valuable information about our patrons’ gaming activity and use of our facilities’ various non-gaming amenities.  As of September 30, 2008, we had approximately 1.5 million members in the Seneca Link Player’s Card database with an average of approximately 19,000 new members joining per month during Fiscal 2008.

 

·           Expand Target Markets and Patron Base.     The completion of our hotels in Niagara Falls, New York and Salamanca, New York has enabled us to expand our marketing efforts to higher-value gaming patrons from a wider geographic area.  We continue to evaluate our marketing programs and have increased our efforts to attract more guests from the region, including New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio, as well as higher value patrons from New England, New Jersey, New York City, and Toronto, Canada.  We intend to continue to market to these areas by offering various promotions, including special events for preferred gaming patrons, use of commissioned, independent representatives or splinter arrangements, air charters, motor coach tours and organized package group visits.  We have also hired a player development staff to attract higher-end gaming guests and have upgraded our entertainment offerings to further brand our properties and to attract repeat visits, encourage loyalty and attract higher-end gaming guests.

 

·           Offer Diversified Gaming Experience to Broadest Customer Base.    We intend to operate each of our gaming facilities in a manner that will be complementary. Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel is SGC’s flagship resort property intended to attract to mid to high value gaming guests looking for a full service gaming resort destination.  With the opening of the permanent casino and 212-room resort hotel at Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, SGC has expanded its marketing efforts to attract guests with higher gaming budgets. SGC intends to

 

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integrate the marketing of the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, as explained below, to guests of SGC’s Niagara and Allegany casinos.  This will offer SGC’s guests a variety of gaming and entertainment options.

 

·           Utilize an Integrated Marketing Strategy.    Our marketing strategy relies on the high quality of our facilities, the personal service level of our employees, and an integrated approach of targeted direct mail, radio, print and outdoor advertising, promotions, slot and table tournaments, special events, busing, entertainment and player development staff, to attract and retain our patrons and to brand the Seneca name as the premier gaming and entertainment experience in Western New York. We coordinate our marketing events and the amenities of our facilities to maximize the quality and length of stay of patron visits and, currently and in the future, to minimize competition among our gaming facilities. Our patron tracking system through the Seneca Link Player’s Card is sophisticated and scaleable and provides us with the ability to analyze our guests’ gaming preferences.  In addition, we have redesigned the levels of player club options, each based on the level of each guest’s gaming activity, to ensure each level is properly recognized based upon their gaming activity.  Starting in May 2004, we began using a “promotional credit” program that provides slot credits to our patrons based on the amount of  their gaming at our facilities. These credits are available on the patron’s Seneca Link Player’s Card when they return for visits. These credits must be played and cannot be redeemed for cash, which we believe encourages repeat business.

 

·           Reinvest in and Expand our Gaming Facilities.    We believe our commitment to develop and reinvest in each of our gaming facilities is critical to our continued success and future growth. We intend to reinvest in and expand our gaming facilities to ensure their attractiveness to our patrons, subject to the availability of sufficient funds.  To achieve maximum profitability we intend to continue to upgrade our slot machines with the most popular products in order to create a more exciting gaming experience for our patrons. We have also invested in technology, including slot machine “ticket-in/ticket-out” technology, automated ticket redemption machines, player tracking system enhancements and the development of a Seneca brand inter-property progressive link. Reinvestment in our gaming facilities will help to ensure that our patrons have an enjoyable entertainment experience.

 

·           Offer the Highest Quality Service.    We believe that we can distinguish our gaming facilities from competitors with consistent superior patron service, which is a fundamental component of our business and marketing strategy. We attribute much of our success at Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel to our employees’ ability to provide high quality, efficient and friendly service.  We require that each new employee participate in substantial customer service training as part of their orientation.  It is our intention to continue to invest in providing the highest level of guest service as an integral component of our long-term financial success.

 

Market and Competition

 

Market.    Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel is located on the Nation’s Niagara Territory in the City of Niagara Falls, New York, approximately 20 miles north of Buffalo and approximately 90 miles west of Rochester. Our primary market for this casino includes the cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, New York, and covers the area in the United States within an estimated 50 miles of Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel.  Our secondary market includes the City of Rochester, New York, and covers the area in the United States within an estimated 51 to 100 miles of Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel.  Our outer markets include Toronto, Canada, Erie and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and other areas of New York and Ontario, Canada.  We continue to expand our geographic reach with targeted marketing efforts for higher-end gaming patrons in the New York City area, New England, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois and Canada.  In addition, Niagara Falls is a major tourist destination.

 

Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel is located immediately off Interstate 86 in southwestern New York. Since its opening in May 2004, the primary market for this casino has been the area within 75 miles of the casino, which includes Erie, Pennsylvania.  The secondary market has been the area within 75 to 175 miles of the casino, which includes Cleveland and Akron, Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Since opening, the Seneca Allegany Casino has catered primarily to middle-market, drive-in patrons from its primary and secondary markets.  With the opening of our 212-room resort hotel in March 2007, we implemented additional targeted marketing programs focused on expanding our geographic reach.

 

The temporary casino on the Nation’s Buffalo Creek Territory facility has a limited market due to its small size.

 

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As of September 30, 2008, approximately 28% of the approximate 1.5 million Seneca Link Player’s Card members lived in the Buffalo-Niagara area, and approximately 22%, 21%, 21% and 8% lived in Ohio, Pennsylvania, other areas of New York, and Canada, respectively.

 

Competition in Immediate Market Area.

 

The United States and Canadian gaming industries are highly regulated and the overall number of casino operations in the Northeast is limited. In recent years, there has been a trend to relax the legal restrictions on entry and to permit the development of additional gaming operations.  Currently, there are two large casino resorts, Casino Niagara and Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort, and five major racetrack facilities with gaming operations, Fairgrounds Gaming and Raceway, Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack, Batavia Downs Gaming and Raceway, Fort Erie Racetrack and Slots and Woodbine Racetrack, within the 100-mile radius that constitutes Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel’s immediate market area.  Fairgrounds Gaming and Raceway, Fort Erie Racetrack and Slots, and Presque Isle Downs in Erie, Pennsylvania, which opened in February 2007, each directly compete in Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel’s immediate market area.

 

Casino Niagara and Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort are located in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and are both within two miles of Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel. Casino Niagara and Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort are owned and operated by the Province of Ontario and managed by the Hyatt-led Falls Management Company. Casino Niagara offers over 95,000 square feet of gaming space including more than 1,700 video gaming machines (“VGMs”), 60 table games, three restaurants and three bars. Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort opened in June 2004 and features 200,000 square feet of gaming space that includes over 3,000 VGMs, over 100 table games, a 374-room Hyatt hotel, a spa and various restaurant and entertainment venues. Casino Niagara and Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort are both located approximately 70 miles from Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel on the outer edge of Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel’s primary market area.

 

Fairgrounds Gaming and Raceway (formerly Buffalo Raceway), a racetrack facility in Hamburg, New York offering approximately 1,000 VGMs in a 27,000 square foot gaming facility, is located approximately 30 miles and 50 miles from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, respectively.  Batavia Downs, in Batavia, New York, is located approximately 50 miles and 70 miles from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, respectively, and features over 590 VGMs.  Finger Lakes Gaming and Race Track in Farmington, New York, is located approximately 90 miles and 140 miles from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, respectively, and operates over 1,200 VGMs in a video gaming facility.  Fort Erie Racetrack and Slots in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada, is located approximately 15 miles and 60 miles from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, respectively, and operates 1,150 VGMs in an 85,000 square foot gaming facility. Woodbine Racetrack, a 56,000 square foot racetrack facility featuring 1,700 VGMs, is located in Ontario, Canada, approximately 50 miles and 160 miles from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, respectively.  Presque Isle Downs, a racetrack facility in Erie, Pennsylvania offering approximately 2,000 slot machines is located approximately 120 miles and 80 miles from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, respectively.

 

Competition in Broader Regional Market.

 

The Oneida Indian Nation operates a gaming facility resort, Turning Stone Resort & Casino, near Syracuse, New York, located approximately 190 miles and 235 miles from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, respectively.  Turning Stone Resort & Casino features approximately 2,400 multi-gaming machines and 85 table games.

 

The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe currently operates a small casino facility, Akwesasne Mohawk Casino, near Hogansburg, New York, which is located approximately 350 miles and 390 miles from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, respectively. Akwesasne Mohawk Casino features approximately 800 slot machines and 25 table games.

 

Competition elsewhere in New York State includes other racetracks that operate VGMs, including:  Saratoga Raceway in Saratoga Springs (located approximately 325 miles and 340 miles from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, respectively); Monticello Raceway in Monticello (located approximately 325 miles and 280 miles from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, respectively); Tioga Downs in Nichols (located approximately 190 miles and 160 miles from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and

 

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Hotel, respectively); Yonkers Raceway in Yonkers (located approximately 415 miles and 370 miles from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, respectively); and Vernon Downs in Vernon (located approximately 195 miles and 245 miles from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, respectively).

 

Competition in Pennsylvania includes:  Mount Airy Casino Resort, located in the Pocono Mountains in Northeast Pennsylvania, with approximately 2,500 slot machines (located approximately 320 miles and 270 miles from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, respectively); Harrah’s Chester Casino and Racetrack in Chester (located approximately 420 miles and 370 miles from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, respectively); Hollywood Casino at Penn National in Grantville (located approximately 315 miles and 250 miles from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, respectively); and The Meadows in Washington (located approximately 255 miles and 220 miles from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, respectively) .

 

Wheeling Island Racetrack and Gaming Center, located in Wheeling, West Virginia, with approximately 2,400 slot machines and 48 table games, is located approximately 290 miles and 250 miles from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, respectively.

 

Mountaineeer Casino, Racetrack and Resort, located in Chester, West Virginia, with approximately 3,220 slot machines and over 55 table games, is located approximately 250 miles and 215 miles from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, respectively.

 

Foxwoods Resort Casino, owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, and the Mohegan Sun Casino, owned and operated by the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut are each located in southeastern Connecticut, approximately 460 miles and 480 miles from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, respectively.

 

To a lesser extent, SGC competes with Casino Rama, which is north of Toronto and located approximately 150 miles and 240 miles from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, respectively.

 

There are also numerous casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey (approximately 480 miles and 430 miles from the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, respectively) with which SGC competes.

 

New Market Entrants.

 

Despite the exclusivity in Western New York provided by the Compact, SGC’s casinos face competition in New York State from both Indian and non-Indian gaming operations. The Compact allows New York State to permit the Tuscarora Indian Nation and the Tonawanda Band of Seneca Indians to obtain the right to include gaming devices in a compact without abrogating the exclusivity provisions of the Compact, so long as either tribe locates its proposed gaming facility either on its existing reservations or more than 25 miles from a Nation gaming facility. In addition, New York State could allow other Indian gaming facilities to be located within our area of exclusivity, in which case the state would forfeit its right to receive exclusivity fees for the types of Class III games in such competitor’s facility on which we pay an exclusivity fee under the Compact. Of the seven federally recognized Indian tribes or nations in New York State other than the Nation, only the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe and Oneida Indian Nation of New York have signed compacts with New York State to open casinos.

 

In October 2001, New York State authorized six new casinos to be run by Indian tribes in the state, each of which was to be permitted to feature Class III slot machines. The validity of the legislation authorizing these casinos was upheld by the New York Court of Appeals in Dalton v. Pataki, et al. and Karr v. Pataki, et al.  Three of these authorized casinos are operated by SGC (Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel, Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino). It was expected that the other three casinos, including the casino planned by the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe as discussed below, would be located in Sullivan and Ulster Counties in the Catskill region, approximately 325 miles and 275 miles from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, respectively.  In February 2007, the Governor of New York State approved plans for a casino by the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe to be located in Sullivan County, New York. The Tribe had proposed a $600 million Class III gaming facility, to be located immediately adjacent to Monticello Raceway in Sullivan County, but in January 2008, the U.S. Department of Interior rejected the Tribe’s right to operate a casino in the Catskills. As a result, no casino development in the Catskills appears imminent.

 

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The former Governor of New York State previously reached settlement agreements, subject to numerous contingencies, with the following tribes for potential Class III gaming operations to be located in Sullivan or Ulster counties in the Catskills region of New York State: the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma, the Cayuga Nation of New York, the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin and the Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of Mohican Indians. However, as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in City of Sherrill, NY v. Oneida Indian Nation of New York, 414 U.S. 661 (2005), the former Governor withdrew pending legislation and land claim settlements with the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma, the Cayuga Nation of New York, the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin and the Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of Mohican Indians.

 

In 2001, New York State awarded licenses to eight racetracks to operate VGMs. In April 2005, the Governor of the State of New York signed a law providing race tracks with a larger share of proceeds from VGMs and extending VGM authorization through 2017. This law also allows for up to eight additional VGM venues in New York State.  These eight licenses would be awarded in a competitive bid process to the state-owned Off-Track Betting Corporation or other operators which may be located in our primary and secondary markets.

 

New York State lawmakers and Governor David Paterson’s administration are currently considering legislation that would allow the state’s video-lottery gaming facilities to expand hours and add electronic table games, such as roulette and blackjack. The facilities can now stay open for 16 hours a day or 112 hours a week, but the proposal would allow larger tracks, such as Saratoga Gaming and Raceway and Yonkers Raceway, to stay open for 140 hours per week and smaller tracks, such as Batavia Downs, to stay open for 128 hours per week.  Such expanded hours would allow tracks the opportunity to keep their video-lottery parlors open 24 hours a day for multiple days each week.

 

In January 2004, Sportsystems (now known as Delaware North Gaming & Entertainment) opened a 1,300 VGM facility at Saratoga Raceway in Saratoga Springs, New York.  Shortly thereafter, in February 2004, Finger Lakes Gaming and Race Track in Farmington, New York, opened its video gaming facility.  Fairgrounds Gaming and Raceway in Hamburg, New York, opened its 27,000 square foot gaming facility in March 2004 and offers approximately 1,000 VGMs. Monticello Raceway in Monticello, New York, opened a gaming facility in June 2004, and offers approximately 1,500 VGMs.  Batavia Downs, in Batavia, New York, opened in May 2005 and offers approximately 590 VGMs.  The New York Racing Association has also granted a right to operate VGMs at the Aqueduct racetrack in Queens, New York, approximately 425 miles and 380 miles from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, respectively. After suspending work on the 4,500 VGM facility from August to December 2003, the project was scheduled for completion by mid-2005; however, as of September 30, 2006 , the project had been stopped again and VGMs were not in operation at the Aqueduct racetrack. Recently, in September 2007, the State of New York solicited proposals for an experienced gaming operator to manage and operate the VGM’s at the Aqueduct facility, and formally awarded such rights to Delaware North Companies in October 2008.  Delaware North has since announced plans to develop a complex with 4,500 VGM’s, in addition to a series of restaurants, hotels, conference and retail amenities. In October 2006, Vernon Downs Racetrack in Vernon, New York, approximately 200 miles and 245 miles from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, respectively, commenced operation of a gaming facility offering 1,000 VGM’s, and in July 2006, Tioga Downs, located approximately 190 miles and 160 miles from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, respectively, opened a 750 VGM facility in central New York.  Both Vernon Downs and Tioga Downs are operated by Nevada Gold, Inc.  Finally, Yonkers Raceway near Manhattan, New York, features approximately 5,300 VGMs, in addition to multiple dining amenities and an entertainment lounge.

 

On July 5, 2004, the Governor of Pennsylvania signed a bill permitting up to an aggregate of 61,000 slot machines at 14 locations in Pennsylvania.  The Pennsylvania legislation permits up to 5,000 slot machines at seven proposed or existing racetracks, five stand-alone gaming facilities with up to 5,000 slot machines each, and 500 slot machines at two existing resorts.  On December 20, 2006, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board awarded 11 permanent slot licenses, each allowing up to 5,000 slot machines. Six licenses were earmarked for proposed or existing racetracks (which had already received conditional licenses in early 2006) and another five licenses were awarded for stand-alone gaming facilities.

 

One of the six “racetrack” licenses was awarded to MTR Gaming Group to build and operate Presque Isle Downs in Erie, Pennsylvania. This facility opened in late February 2007 and operates approximately 2,000 slots, and includes dining and entertainment options that include a steakhouse, a buffet and four lounges.  Presque Isle Downs is located approximately 120 and 80 miles from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, respectively.  In addition, one of

 

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the licenses for the stand-alone facilities was awarded in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area, a secondary market for Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, and an outer market for Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel.

 

Additionally,  both Indian and non-Indian interests in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts continue to pursue the legalization of gaming.  Although legislation that would have authorized the operation of up to three resort casinos was voted down by the Massachusetts legislature in March 2008, the Governor is expected to reintroduce new authorizing legislation in January 2009.  At the same time, the Mashpee Wampanoag  tribe has announced its intent to pursue the negotiation of a Compact with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in furtherance of efforts to place land into trust with the federal government and operate a Class III casino regulated under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, or IGRA.

 

We also face competition from other non-gaming leisure activities and destinations.

 

If we are unable to compete successfully, our business, financial condition and results from operations could be materially adversely affected. See “Item 1A. - Risk Factors—We compete with casinos, other forms of gaming and entertainment, and other resort properties. If we are unable to compete successfully, we may not be able to generate sufficient cash flow to fund our operations or meet our obligations as they become due.”

 

Class III Gaming Compact

 

The Nation’s Compact with New York State provides the Nation with the right to establish and operate three Class III gaming facilities in Western New York. The Compact grants the Nation the exclusive right to operate specifically defined gaming devices, including slot machines, within a 10,500 square-mile, geographic area in Western New York, beginning on Route 14, approximately 30 miles East of Rochester, and extending westerly throughout New York State. In exchange for this exclusivity, the Nation pays exclusivity fees to New York State based on a percentage of the slot machine net drop (money dropped into the machines after payout but before our expenses). The exclusivity payment is 18% for the first four years, 22% for years 5-7 (beginning January 1, 2007), and 25% for the remainder of the term (beginning January 1, 2010). The exclusivity payment to New York State was approximately $88.6 million for the first nine months of calendar 2008, $109.7 million for calendar year 2007,  $83.3 million for calendar year 2006, and $68.3 million for calendar year 2005.  If New York State breaches the exclusivity arrangement by, for example, allowing a person or entity to operate Class III slot machines within the zone of exclusivity, then the State forfeits the exclusivity fees as to Class III slot machines. The Compact allows New York State to permit the Tuscarora Indian Nation and the Tonawanda Band of Seneca Indians to obtain the right to include gaming devices in a compact without abrogating the exclusivity provisions of the Compact, so long as either tribe locates its proposed gaming facility either on its existing reservations or more than 25 miles from a gaming facility site authorized by the Compact. The Compact provides that the Nation may acquire property and establish a gaming facility in the City of Niagara Falls within an approximate 50 acre area designated as land to be developed by the Nation. Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel is located within this designated area on lands held in restricted fee by the Nation pursuant to the Seneca Nation Lands Claim Settlement Act of 1990, or SNLCSA. The two additional Class III gaming facilities include the Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel on the Nation’s Allegany Territory and the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino on the Nation’s Buffalo Creek Territory.  The Compact is in effect until December 9, 2016, and will automatically renew for an additional period of seven years unless either party objects in writing, or it is terminated as a result of any of the following: (1) repeal of IGRA; (2) the Nation adopts a referendum revoking the Nation’s authority to conduct Class III gaming; or (3) either the Nation or the State commits a Material Breach as defined by the Compact.

 

Employees

 

As of September 30, 2008, SGC employed approximately 4,040 employees.  Of those, Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel employed approximately 2,800 employees; Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel employed approximately 1,200 employees; and  Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino temporary facility employed 40 employees.

 

We consider relations with our employees to be good. None of our employees are currently members of any labor union or similar organization.

 

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Seneca Gaming Corporation and the Nation

 

Seneca Gaming Corporation.  SGC was established by the Nation in August 2002 for the principal purpose of developing, constructing, leasing, operating, managing, maintaining, promoting and financing Nation Class III gaming facilities established in accordance with the Compact.  Our Class II operations were transferred to the Nation as of January 1, 2005.  For further discussion of our former Class II operations, see “Status of Former Class II Operations”, above.  SGC is a governmental instrumentality of the Nation and was established by the Nation pursuant to Nation law by a duly enacted resolution of the Council. SGC is wholly owned by the Nation for economic and governmental purposes and shares in the Nation’s sovereign immunity, which can be waived if the board of directors adopts a resolution waiving immunity in a specific situation and such waiver is approved by the Nation’s Council. SGC is managed by a board of directors with seven members, not less than five of whom must be enrolled members of the Nation. The Nation’s Council alone has the power to appoint and remove SGC’s directors.

 

There are five subsidiaries under the control, operation and management of SGC: Seneca Niagara Falls Gaming Corporation, established in August 2002 to finance, develop, and operate the Nation’s Class III gaming facility in Niagara Falls, New York; Seneca Erie Gaming Corporation, established in August 2003 to finance, develop, and operate the Nation’s Class III gaming facility in Erie County, New York; Seneca Territory Gaming Corporation, established in September 2003 to finance, develop, and operate the Nation’s Class III gaming facility on the Nation’s Allegany or Cattaraugus Territories; Lewiston Golf Course Corporation, established in June 2007 to develop and operate SGC’s golf course amenity in Lewiston, New York; and Seneca Massachusetts Gaming Corporation, established in August 2007 for the purpose of pursuing the initial planning and development of potential gaming opportunities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. SNFGC operates the  Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel located on the Nation’s Niagara Falls Territory in Niagara Falls, New York. STGC operates the Nation’s Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel located in the City of Salamanca, New York on the Nation’s Allegany Territory. SEGC operates the temporary Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino located in the City of Buffalo, New York, on the Nation’s Buffalo Creek Territory, and is engaged in the development of the permanent gaming facility to be located on the Nation’s Buffalo Creek Territory.  SGC’s current corporate structure is as follows:

 

 

Each of SGC’s subsidiaries is required to make periodic financial reports and submit an annual report to the SGC board of directors. The SGC board of directors is required to make quarterly and annual reports to the Council regarding the financial condition of the companies, including but not limited to, significant problems and accomplishments, future plans, and such other information as the Council deems pertinent. The SGC board of directors is also required to provide monthly reports to Council regarding certain budgetary and related matters.  With the exception of LGCC, the members of the boards of directors of SGC and its subsidiaries are the same.

 

Seneca Gaming Authority and Class III Gaming Ordinance.  SGC’s gaming operations are subject to the supervision and regulation of the Seneca Gaming Authority, or SGA, which was established by Nation ordinance and is responsible for overseeing the regulation of all of the Nation’s gaming operations. The Nation’s Class III gaming ordinance, or Gaming Ordinance, which provides regulatory authority to SGA for the Nation’s Class III gaming, was originally adopted on

 

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August 1, 2002, subsequently amended on November 16, 2002 and approved by the National Indian Gaming Commission, or NIGC, on November 26, 2002. The Nation amended the gaming ordinance to extend SGA’s regulatory authority to include jurisdiction over Class II gaming. The amended ordinance was further amended in August 2006 to incorporate certain clarifications into the ordinance.  This amendment was approved by the NIGC as of November 6, 2006.  More recently, on June 9, 2007, the Nation enacted a new gaming ordinance with certain site-specific language applicable to the Buffalo Creek Territory.  This action was taken in connection with ongoing litigation challenging the Nation’s right to conduct Class III gaming on the Buffalo Creek Territory (Citizens Against Casino Gambling v. Kempthorne), in which the judge had vacated the NIGC’s approval of the Nation’s 2002 gaming ordinance as it pertained to gaming on the Buffalo Creek Territory.  See “Item 3. Legal Proceedings” for discussion of this litigation and related matters.  The amended Ordinance was submitted to the NIGC on June 9, 2007 and was identical to the prior approved ordinance except that the new ordinance’s definition of “Indian Lands” contains a site specific legal description of the Buffalo Creek Territory.  This site-specific Ordinance applicable to the Buffalo Creek Territory was approved by the NIGC on July 2, 2007. In response to ongoing events in connection with the Buffalo Creek litigation, on July 16, 2008, the Nation submitted a further amended gaming ordinance to the NIGC, so that the NIGC could consider the applicability of new Department of Interior regulations concluding that lands like the Buffalo Creek Territory are exempt from Section 20 of IGRA’s prohibition on gaming.  This amended ordinance is currently pending before the NIGC.

 

The SGA consists of five commissioners selected by the Nation and is responsible for, among other things, monitoring and regulating the standards of operation and standards of management of all authorized Class III gaming, protecting the assets and integrity of casino operations, overseeing casino surveillance, monitoring the compliance of the Nation’s gaming activities with external accounting and audit control procedures, and supervising the licensure of all employees and vendors of the Nation’s gaming activities. SGA’s authority does not extend to activities that are not directly related to Class III gaming undertaken by the Nation under the Compact, such as ownership and operation of our hotels and other non-gaming amenities, or our golf course development activities.  The SGA functions independently and autonomously from the Council in all matters within its purview. While the SGA is responsible for regulatory matters relating to the Nation’s gaming activities, SGC (or one of its subsidiaries) is responsible for the day-to-day management and operation of the Nation’s Class III gaming activities established in accordance with the Compact.  For further discussion of the Seneca Gaming Authority, see “Regulation of the Nation, Seneca Gaming Corporation and its Subsidiaries”, below.

 

The Nation.   The Seneca Nation of Indians is a federally recognized, self-governing Indian nation operating under a Constitution originally adopted in 1848 and most recently amended in 1993. The Nation’s current total enrolled population is approximately 7,700. The Seneca Nation is one of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy that consists of the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk and Tuscarora nations. The members of the Nation originally lived in the area between the Genesee River and Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Today, the Seneca Nation holds title to five distinct Territories in Western New York State, including land in Niagara Falls and Buffalo and land set aside by the 1794 Treaty of Canandaigua: the Allegany, Cattaraugus and Oil Spring Territories. These three Territories designated by the Treaty encompass parts of four counties in New York State: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, and Erie counties. The Oil Springs Territory is 640 acres, or one square mile, of land located 43 miles southeast of the Cattaraugus Territory and 24 miles east of the Allegany Territory. The Allegany Territory is composed of 31,097 acres and includes the City of Salamanca which is located within its territorial boundaries. The Cattaraugus Territory is 35 miles north of Allegany and encompasses 22,012 acres of land. In addition, approximately 24 acres of land (of the approximate 50 acre parcel identified in Appendix I of the Compact) in Niagara Falls and approximately nine acres of land in Erie County have been converted into restricted fee lands pursuant to the SNLCSA. By operation of federal law, these lands and other land that may be acquired in the future pursuant to the SNLCSA, whether in Niagara Falls or Erie County, are subject to restrictions against alienation, constitute Indian country subject to the jurisdiction of the Nation, and qualify as gaming eligible Indian lands pursuant to IGRA.  See “Item 3. Legal Proceedings” for discussion of litigation challenging the status of certain of these lands.  For further discussion of land acquisitions in Niagara Falls, New York, see “Niagara Falls Real Estate Acquisitions”, above.

 

Nation Governance.  The Nation came into formal existence in 1848 when the chief system was replaced by a constitution with elected officials. The Nation’s Constitution provides for three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial. The Nation holds an election every two years for its three Executive Branch officers: the President, the Treasurer and the Clerk. These officers alternate between the two principal Territories, Cattaraugus and Allegany, every two years. The next election of the Executive Branch Officers will be held in November 2010. The Legislative Branch, or the Council, has sixteen members, of which eight members are elected from each of the two principal Territories. Each Councilor is elected to a four-year term, which is staggered.  The most recent election of eight Council members was held in November 2008, with the next election to occur in November 2010.

 

Nation Governmental Operations.  The Nation currently has administrative departments located on both the Allegany and

 

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Cattaraugus Territories. The Nation’s programs include tribal administration functions as well as a wide array of community services, including health, environmental, education, recreation and community planning. In order to provide efficient services to the communities, many departments have offices located on both Territories. The tribal administrative executive offices are housed in the two central administration buildings located on the Allegany and Cattaraugus Territories: the G.R. Plummer and the William Seneca Buildings, respectively. The other Nation organizational departments are located in buildings adjacent to the main tribal administration building or surrounding area.

 

Nation Businesses.  The Nation enterprises, subdivisions of the Nation’s government, are responsible for the various economic development initiatives undertaken by the Nation other than SGC and its subsidiaries. The Nation enterprises are currently comprised of the following: Seneca Construction Management Corporation, Seneca Gaming & Entertainment, Seneca One Stop, Seneca-Iroquois National Museum, and Highbanks Campground. None of these enterprises is a part of SGC or its subsidiaries or otherwise contributes to its revenue. Individual Seneca entrepreneurs also operate their own businesses on Nation lands. The businesses include, but are not limited to, restaurants, retail shops, hotels, gas stations, and Internet-based businesses.

 

Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance.  Our operations are subject to the Nation’s Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance, or TERO, which requires the granting of a preference to enrolled Nation members and other Native Americans in the hiring of employees and in the engagement of certain vendors and contractors.  TERO is implemented by a five member commission, appointed by the Nation’s Council.  With respect to employees, TERO requires that we give preference to qualified Indians in all hiring, promotion, training and all other aspects of employment.  With respect to vendors, TERO requires that, in awarding contracts or subcontracts for supplies, services, labor and materials in an amount in excess of $5,000 where the majority of the work will occur on Nation lands, we give preference to Indian-owned firms when contracts are subject to a competitive bidding process and the bids of the Indian-owned firms fall within a defined percentage or amount of the lowest responsive bid (ranging from 1% when the lowest responsive bid is $7 million or more, to $9,000 when the lowest responsive bid is $100,000 or less), in each case as specified in TERO.  The Nation, through its TERO Commission, has the sole power to determine and certify whether and to what extent a firm is “Indian-owned”.

 

Regulation of the Nation, Seneca Gaming Corporation and its Subsidiaries

 

The conduct of our Class III gaming activities on Nation lands is subject to multiple levels of regulation, including regulation by the Nation through its Gaming Ordinances (and the SGA, which has regulatory jurisdiction over the Nation’s gaming activities) and regulation by the State of New York, through the New York State Racing and Wagering Board and the New York State Police, each in accordance with the Compact between the Nation and New York State. See “Material Agreements—Nation-State Gaming Compact” for further discussion of the regulatory authority of the SGA and New York State gaming officials.  The federal government also oversees Indian gaming generally pursuant to IGRA and exercises regulatory oversight through the NIGC. The Department of Justice also possesses authority to enforce IGRA and the Gambling Devices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1171-78, more commonly known as the Johnson Act. The following description of the regulatory environment in which gaming takes place and in which SGC and its subsidiaries operate is intended as a summary and is not a complete recitation of all relevant laws. Moreover, because the regulatory environment is dynamic and evolving, it is impossible to predict how certain provisions will ultimately be interpreted or applied or how they may affect SGC and its subsidiaries. Changes in such laws or regulations could, under certain circumstances, have a material adverse effect on the operations of SGC and its subsidiaries.

 

Seneca Nation Law and Legal Systems

 

Applicability of State and Federal Law.    The Nation is an Indian tribal government with certain sovereign powers. The Nation’s ability to enact its own laws and regulations to regulate gaming activities derives from the exercise of the Nation’s inherent sovereign powers, recognized by the United States in the 1794 Treaty of Canandaigua and in subsequent federal court opinions. It is the position of the United States, and federal courts have uniformly held, that Indian nations are subject to certain federal laws and certain state laws where federal law so prescribes. It is therefore possible that a federal agency with whose regulations the Nation may not be currently complying could object to such noncompliance. If an agency sought to enforce compliance, such agency action and any resultant federal court ruling could result in the disruption of construction, operations, and related activities of SGC, which events would have a material adverse effect on our financial results.

 

Waiver of Sovereign Immunity; Court Jurisdiction; Exhaustion of Tribal Remedies.    Indian nations enjoy sovereign

 

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immunity from unconsented suit similar to that of the states and the United States. An Indian nation and its wholly owned tribal entities, such as SGC and its subsidiaries, share in the Indian nation’s sovereign immunity, but may formally waive their sovereign immunity with respect to suits against them. The Nation and SGC, respectively, granted a limited waiver of sovereign immunity and consent to suit in connection with the senior notes issued by SGC in 2004 and 2005, including suits against SGC to enforce its obligation to repay the senior notes.  Courts have held waivers of sovereign immunity to be effective, if given explicitly with proper authorization.

 

The remedies available against an Indian nation also depend, at least in part, upon the jurisdiction of courts and the rules of comity and doctrines requiring initial exhaustion of remedies in tribal tribunals and, as to some judicial remedies, the particular nation’s consent to jurisdictional provisions contained in the disputed agreements. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that state courts do not have jurisdiction over actions involving Indians or Indian tribes and arising within Indian country unless Congress specifically grants jurisdiction to those courts. Congress has allowed the courts of New York State to hear certain matters involving Indians and occurring on Indian lands in New York, although each situation must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis.

 

The Nation’s judiciary branch is comprised of separate Peacemaker, Appellate, and Surrogate Courts. The Nation court system has its own clerks and facilities and has heard numerous civil cases.

 

The U.S. Supreme Court has held that, under certain circumstances, where a tribal court exists, the remedies and jurisdictional questions in that forum must first be exhausted before the claim can properly be heard by federal courts that would otherwise have jurisdiction. We sometimes waive our right to require exhaustion of tribal court remedies.  For example, the Nation and SGC, respectively, consented to the jurisdiction of the federal and New York State courts in connection with any action by the trustee to enforce the senior notes and operative documents related thereto and agreed to waive the requirement of exhaustion of tribal court remedies. However, it is not clear that such a waiver would be effective. Generally, where a dispute as to the existence of jurisdiction in the tribal forum exists, the tribal court must first rule as to the limits of its own jurisdiction. In the event that a waiver of tribal court jurisdiction is held to be ineffective, the recipient of the waiver (e.g., the trustee and holders of the senior notes) may be required to enforce their rights and remedies against the Nation or SGC in Nation court. In addition, unless the decisions of the Nation court violate some applicable state or federal law, if any, there may be no effective right to appeal such decisions in state or federal court.

 

The Federal Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (which has appellate jurisdiction over federal district courts located in New York State) has ruled that if a non-member of a tribe asserts a claim against a tribe based on state or federal law, and not on tribal law, and no prior tribal court proceedings are pending, a federal court generally may adjudicate the claim without requiring the plaintiff to exhaust tribal court remedies. A similar ruling by a New York State appellate court concluded that the state trial court properly proceeded with adjudicating a dispute rather than requiring the plaintiff to exhaust tribal court remedies where the dispute was among tribal members involving issues not concerning internal tribal affairs, the state court had jurisdiction concurrent with tribal courts over the issues and no case was currently pending before the tribal court. Courts in other states and federal judicial circuits have reached different conclusions, and it cannot be certain whether a court in New York State will defer exercising jurisdiction over a case until after the appropriate tribal court has had an opportunity to adjudicate the matter, even where there is a waiver of exhaustion of tribal court remedies.

 

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988

 

IGRA.    All gaming activities on Indian lands are subject to IGRA. Congress enacted IGRA in order to establish a system for regulating gaming activities on Indian lands. IGRA’s purpose is to provide a statutory basis for the operation of gaming by Indian tribes as a means of promoting tribal economic development, self sufficiency, and strong tribal governments. Congress simultaneously sought to shield Indian gaming from organized crime and other corrupting influences, to ensure that the Indian tribe is the primary beneficiary of the gaming operation and that gaming is conducted fairly and honestly by both the operator and players.

 

Classes of Gaming.    IGRA divides gaming into three classes, each of which is regulated differently. Class I gaming encompasses social games solely for prizes of minimal value or traditional forms of Indian gaming engaged in by individuals as a part of, or in connection with, tribal ceremonies or celebrations. Such gaming is subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the tribes and is not subject to regulation under IGRA. Class II gaming includes bingo and similar games, and is subject to tribal regulation and federal oversight by the NIGC. Class III gaming, the most heavily regulated of the three classes,

 

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encompasses all other forms of gaming, and includes slot machines, casino games, banking card games, dog racing, and lotteries. Class III gaming is lawful only if it is (1) authorized by a tribal ordinance, (2) located in a State that permits such gaming for any purpose by any person, organization, or entity, and (3) conducted in conformance with a Tribal-State compact.

 

National Indian Gaming Commission.    The NIGC, an independent executive agency located in the Department of the Interior, is vested with regulatory authority over gaming activities on Indian lands pursuant to IGRA and its implementing regulations. The NIGC is charged with the administration and enforcement of IGRA. The NIGC regulates gaming by Indian tribes, in order to shield tribes from organized crime and other corrupting influences, to ensure that the Indian tribe is the primary beneficiary of the gaming operation and that gaming is conducted fairly and honestly by both the operator and players. Congress aimed to make gaming a means of promoting tribal economic development, self-sufficiency, and strong tribal governments. To carry out these goals, Congress gave the NIGC substantial power, including the authority to initiate enforcement actions, close tribal gaming operations and levy civil fines. Moreover, the NIGC has authority to issue regulations governing gaming activities on Indian lands, review and approve Class II and Class III gaming ordinances, review and approve management agreements for tribal gaming operations, conduct investigations and generally monitor Indian gaming activities. IGRA also provides for federal criminal penalties for illegal gaming on Indian land and for theft from Indian gaming facilities. The Secretary of the Interior retains certain responsibilities under IGRA, such as the approval of tribal-state compacts and approval of per capita distribution plans.

 

NIGC Regulations Implement Certain Provisions of IGRA. These regulations govern, among other things, the submission and approval of tribal gaming ordinances or resolutions, and require an Indian tribe to have the sole proprietary interest in and responsibility for the conduct of gaming activities. Pursuant to NIGC regulations, tribes are required to issue gaming licenses only under certain articulated standards, to conduct or commission financial audits of their gaming enterprises, to perform or commission background investigations of primary management officials and key employees and to maintain facilities in a manner that adequately protects the environment and the public health and safety. NIGC regulations also set forth a review procedure for tribal licensing of all gaming operation employees and require tribes to report certain specified information, including information derived from background investigations, to the NIGC.  On August 24, 2005, the United States District Court For The District of Columbia in Colorado River Indian Tribes vs. National Indian Gaming Commission, ruled “that the [IGRA] does not confer upon the NIGC the authority to issue or enforce [minimum internal control standards] for Class III gaming.”  Accordingly, the Court declared unlawful the minimum internal control standards as applied to Class III gaming.  On October 26, 2006, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld this decision finding that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act does not grant the NIGC power to impose operational standards on Class III gaming.

 

On November 18, 2005, Senate Indian Affairs Committee Chairman McCain (R-AZ) introduced S. 2078, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act Amendments of 2005.  S. 2078 makes a number of amendments to IGRA, including authorizing the NIGC to promulgate “regulations addressing minimum internal control standards for class II gaming and class III gaming activities.”  The import of this particular amendment is to essentially overrule the Colorado River Indian Tribes vs. National Indian Gaming Commission decision.

 

Tribal-State Compacts.    Under IGRA, Class III gaming activities are lawful on Indian lands only if such activities are conducted in conformance with a Tribal-State gaming compact. A Tribal-State gaming compact is the product of negotiation by a tribe and a state which sets the terms by which the tribe may conduct Class III gaming. IGRA contemplates that states and tribes will utilize the compacting process to address public policy issues of mutual concern. IGRA provides a representative list of the types of provisions that may be included in a Tribal-State gaming compact. Among other things, Congress sought through the compact process to accommodate significant governmental interests of the states. At the same time, IGRA’s compacting process affords reciprocal protection for the significant governmental interests of tribes by requiring a state to negotiate over a form of Class III gaming as long as the state permits it for any purpose by any person. The mechanism for entering into a Tribal-State gaming compact is set forth in IGRA.

 

The Nation’s Compact was executed on August 18, 2002, and deemed approved by the Secretary of the Interior on October 25, 2002 pursuant to IGRA. After taking effect on December 9, 2002, when notice was published in the Federal Register, the Compact authorized the Nation to own and operate three Class III gaming facilities, two then off-Territory in the City of Niagara Falls and in Erie County, New York, and one on the already existing Nation Territory.

 

Tribal-state gaming compacts have been the subject of litigation in thirteen states, including New York State. In 1996, the

 

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U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida that the provision of IGRA that permits Indian tribes to sue in federal court to force states to negotiate tribal-state gaming compacts in good faith is unconstitutional, as applied to an unconsenting state, by virtue of the Eleventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

 

In 1999, certain legislators, organizations and individuals opposed to casino gambling brought a lawsuit: (1) challenging the validity of the 1993 gaming compact between New York State and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe under the separation of powers provisions in the New York State Constitution; and (2) seeking a declaration that New York State Constitution’s general prohibition on gambling covers Las Vegas-style gaming at casinos operated pursuant to IGRA by Indian tribes on their territorial lands in New York. The plaintiffs also requested an injunction prohibiting New York State from expending any money in furtherance of the gaming compact.  The lawsuit was made moot by the subsequent approval by the New York State Legislature of the 1993 compact.

 

In October 2001, the New York Legislature passed Chapter 383 of the Laws of 2001, or Chapter 383, which allowed former Governor Pataki to enter into a gaming compact with the Seneca Nation of Indians and to enter into gaming compacts with other Indian tribes for the establishment of three additional casinos in the Catskills. Chapter 383 also approved the installation of VGMs at certain racetracks.

 

In January 2002, two actions were filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Albany, challenging the validity of Chapter 383. The actions were captioned Dalton v. Pataki, et al, and Karr v. Pataki, et al. Plaintiffs sought a judgment declaring the legislation unconstitutional and enjoining its implementation. These two cases were consolidated and we refer to both cases below as Dalton v. Pataki.

 

On July 17, 2003, the New York Supreme Court dismissed the plaintiffs’ complaints in Dalton v. Pataki and held that Chapter 383 is constitutional. The plaintiffs appealed the Court’s decision to the Third Department of the New York Supreme Court’s Appellate Division and oral argument was held on December 16, 2003. On July 7, 2004, a five-judge panel issued its Opinion and Order declaring the provisions of Chapter 383 authorizing the additional compacts constitutional, the licensing of VGMs to racetracks to be unconstitutional due to the impermissible revenue distribution scheme set forth therein and the provision of Chapter 383 authorizing the Division of the Lottery to participate in the multi-state lottery constitutional.

 

On May 3, 2005, the New York Court of Appeals held all of Chapter 383 (including the licensing of VGMs to racetracks) to be constitutional. In July 2005, the New York Court of Appeals, the State’s highest court, denied a motion to rehear the case.  Appellants filed a writ of certiorari seeking review by the United States Supreme Court.  On November 28, 2005, the United States Supreme Court denied the writ.

 

Indian Lands.    In order for the Nation to conduct gaming pursuant to the Compact, it must do so on Indian lands within its jurisdiction. Indian lands include, but are not limited to, lands located within the boundaries of an Indian reservation. For non-reservation lands to qualify as Indian lands under IGRA, the land must be either held in trust by the United States for the benefit of any Indian tribe or individual, or held by any Indian tribe or individual subject to restriction by the United States against alienation, and the tribe must exercise governmental power over those lands.

 

As it relates to lands that have been acquired in trust or restricted fee status for gaming purposes after October 17, 1988, IGRA generally prohibits gaming on such lands unless certain conditions are met. As relevant to date, lands that are acquired as part of a settlement of a land claim are exempt from the prohibition against gaming on lands acquired after the enactment of IGRA.

 

Pursuant to the Compact, the Nation may acquire property and establish gaming facilities in the City of Niagara Falls within the boundaries of the approximate 50 acre area of land described in Appendix I of the Compact and designated as land to be developed by the Nation in connection with its gaming facilities. The Compact also authorizes the Nation to establish a gaming facility in Erie County, New York and one on the then-existing Nation Territory. Moreover, the Compact authorizes the Nation to use funds appropriated under the SNLCSA to acquire parcels of land in Niagara Falls and Erie County for gaming purposes.  See “Material Agreements—Nation-State Gaming Compact”, below.

 

In 1990, Congress enacted the SNLCSA which provides the Nation with fair compensation for use of its land and for the impact on the Nation from prior lease arrangements in the City of Salamanca, New York. The funds appropriated under the SNLCSA are available for the Nation to acquire land which could be placed into restricted fee status. The SNLCSA provides

 

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that unless the Secretary of the Interior determines that lands acquired pursuant to the SNLCSA should not be subject to restrictions against alienation, such lands shall be held in restricted fee status by the Nation.

 

As determined by the Secretary of the Interior in connection with the approval of the Compact, the Nation will have jurisdiction over lands placed into restricted fee status pursuant to the SNLCSA. Indeed, lands placed in restricted status pursuant to the SNLCSA are held in the same legal manner as existing Nation lands are held and thus, subject to the Nation’s jurisdiction. In addition, the Secretary determined that lands placed into restricted fee status pursuant to the SNLCSA are Indian lands as defined by IGRA, and the Nation is authorized to use such land for gaming purposes pursuant to IGRA, because such lands will be acquired as part of a settlement of a land claim.  See “Item 3. Legal Proceedings” for discussion of litigation challenging the status of certain of these lands.

 

In the future, if and when all funds appropriated under the SNLCSA have been used by the Nation, the Nation may acquire lands in fee status and then request such lands to be held in trust on its behalf through the land-into-trust process.  To the extent the Nation acquires lands in trust in the future, it is noted that the land-into-trust process, as compared to the restricted fee process under the SNLCSA, will be much more cumbersome and lengthy.

 

The Nation (as opposed to SGC or its subsidiaries) has acquired approximately 24 acres in Niagara Falls (of the approximate 50 acre area of land described in Appendix I of the Compact) with funds appropriated under the SNLCSA.  On October 3, 2005, the Nation acquired approximately nine acres of land in Erie County with SNLCSA funds.     By operation of federal law, these lands and other lands that may be acquired in the future pursuant to the SNLCSA (in Niagara Falls or Erie County), are subject to restrictions against alienation, constitute Indian country subject to the jurisdiction of the Nation, and qualify as gaming eligible Indian lands pursuant to IGRA. The Nation’s existing casino and hotel on the Niagara Falls Territory and existing temporary casino on the Buffalo Creek Territory are situated on these lands.  See “Item 3. Legal Proceedings” for discussion of litigation challenging the status of certain of these lands.

 

In addition to the two then off-Territory sites in Niagara Falls and Erie County, the Compact also authorizes the Nation to establish a gaming facility on then already existing Nation Territory. The lands upon which the Nation owns, operates and manages its Territory-based Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, are located within the Nation’s Allegany reservation boundaries, thus constituting Indian lands eligible for gaming pursuant to IGRA.

 

Possible Changes in Federal and State Law.  Our operations are regulated by Nation laws, the Compact and federal statutes, most notably IGRA.  Several bills have been proposed during past sessions of Congress that could affect Indian gaming.  Most notably Senator McCain’s S. 2078, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act Amendments of 2006 and Congressman Pombo’s (R-CA) H. 4893, Restricting Indian Gaming to Homelands of Tribes Act of 2006, proposed additional regulations for tribes and more restrictions on “off-reservation” gaming.   With new leadership in the committees of jurisdiction over Indian Affairs in the 110th Congress, Indian gaming has received very limited attention.

 

The Department of the Interior has recently published final regulations effective August 25, 2008 governing the conduct of gaming on lands taken into trust after October 17, 1988.  The regulations on their face do not purport to impair the ability of the Nation and SGC to expand its gaming operations.  Future gaming legislation or court decisions construing the new regulations could adversely impact expansion of SGC gaming operations and the future growth of the Nation’s revenue base. In addition, from time to time, various government officials have proposed taxing Indian casino gaming or otherwise limiting or restricting the conduct of gaming operations by Indian tribes. No assurance can be given that such legislation, if and when enacted by Congress, would not have a material adverse effect on the operations of SGC. If Congress were to enact comprehensive amendments to the IGRA, such legislation could have a material adverse effect on the operations of SGC. In addition, under federal law, gaming on the Nation’s lands may be dependent upon the permissibility under New York State law of certain forms of gaming or similar activities. If New York State were to make various forms of gaming illegal or against public policy (or the courts were to similarly rule), or otherwise to take a legal position adverse to SGC, such actions could have a material adverse effect on our ability to conduct our gaming operations as currently conducted. Moreover, the 1996 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida may permit a state to avoid or refuse to negotiate amendments to existing compacts such as the Compact.

 

Material Agreements

 

The following summaries of certain material agreements related to our operations, to which the Nation or SGC (or its

 

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subsidiaries) is a party, do not purport to be complete and are qualified in their entirety by reference to the agreements summarized herein. Capitalized terms used but not otherwise defined herein have the meanings ascribed to such terms in the agreement being summarized (unless otherwise indicated).

 

Nation-State Gaming Compact

 

The Nation engages in Class III gaming activities in accordance with the Compact, approved on October 25, 2002. The Compact was negotiated between the Nation and New York State in accordance with the provisions of IGRA applicable to the conduct of Class III gaming operations by Indian tribes. See “Regulation of the Nation and Seneca Gaming Corporation and its Subsidiaries—The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988—Tribal-State Compacts.”

 

The Compact provides, among other things, that:

 

(1)  The Nation may conduct the following games of chance on its lands: baccarat, bang, beat the dealer, best poker hand, blackjack, Caribbean stud poker, chuck-a-luck, craps, gaming devices, hazard, joker seven, keno, let it ride poker, minibaccarat, pai gow poker, pai gow tiles, red dog, roulette, sic bo, super pan, under and over seven, wheel games, casino war, Spanish blackjack, multiple action blackjack, and three card poker. The legality of slot machines pursuant to State law, however, is the subject of ongoing State court litigation. See “Regulation of the Nation and Seneca Gaming Corporation and its Subsidiaries—The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988—Tribal-State Compacts.” The Compact sets forth specifications describing and governing the operation of each of these types of games by the Nation.

 

(2)  The Compact provides for the establishment of the SGA, which exercises jurisdiction over and responsibility for the conduct of gaming operations by the Nation. The SGA was established pursuant to the Gaming Ordinance. The New York State Racing and Wagering Board and the New York State Police, collectively, the SGO, act in a concurrent regulatory and oversight role with regard to the Nation’s Class III gaming operations. The SGA is entitled to unfettered access to all areas of the Nation’s gaming facilities including the surveillance room(s), copies of daily inspection reports as well as access to the business and accounting records relating to the Nation’s gaming operations during the course of an investigation. Each Nation Class III gaming operation must provide reasonable office and reserved parking space adjacent to the Class III gaming facilities for the SGO. New York State is empowered to sue to enforce applicable Compact terms and to remedy violations through arbitration or in federal court.

 

(3)  Law enforcement responsibilities relating to the Nation’s Class III gaming operations are concurrent between the Nation Law Enforcement Agency and the New York State Police as a matter of federal law. Nothing in the Compact alters the jurisdiction of New York State, if any, over Indian land as provided by applicable law. Members of the New York State Police in the course of official duties have unfettered access to all areas of the Class III gaming and auxiliary facilities, subject only to State and federal constitutional limitations. As stated, the Nation Law Enforcement Agency may exercise concurrent authority with that of the New York State Police to maintain public order and safety, to the extent authorized by federal law.

 

(4)  All gaming employees are required to apply for, and obtain, a valid gaming employee license issued by the SGA, following a fingerprint check by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, a background investigation by the New York State Police, and a suitability determination by the SGO. Applicants must submit a license application to the SGA concerning personal and family history, personal and business references, criminal conviction record, business activities, financial affairs, gaming industry experience, gaming school education and general educational background. The SGA may in specified circumstances suspend, revoke or deny a renewal of any gaming license.

 

(5)  Any enterprise providing gaming services, gaming supplies or gaming equipment to a Nation Class III gaming operation must hold a current valid gaming service registration issued by the SGA.

 

(6)  Any enterprise that provides goods, supplies or services to a Nation Class III gaming operation (other than gaming services, gaming supplies or gaming equipment) in a total amount exceeding $75,000 in a single twelve-month period must be identified to the SGO by the Commission. The SGA cooperates with the SGO in any reasonable investigations deemed necessary by the SGO relating to the fitness of any such enterprise to engage in any business with a Nation Class III gaming operation. The SGO may bar such an enterprise from providing such goods, supplies or services upon a determination of a threat to the effective regulation of Class III gaming or danger of unfair or illegal practices, methods and activities in the

 

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conduct of Class III gaming.

 

(7)  The Nation’s Class III gaming operations must conform with a detailed set of operational and management standards relating to a variety of matters, including accounting, internal controls, operational procedures, surveillance personnel and the handling of cash and credit.

 

(8)  The Nation must maintain complete and accurate records of all transactions relating to the revenues and costs of its gaming operations. The forms of such accounts must be consistent with generally accepted accounting principles. An annual audit of the financial statements of its gaming operations must be conducted by an independent certified public accountant in a manner consistent with generally accepted auditing standards.

 

(9)  The Nation reimburses New York State for its costs of oversight under the Compact. Costs include staffing, fringe benefits, overhead costs and non-personal services.

 

(10)  The Nation prohibits the possession of firearms in its Class III gaming facilities except by persons authorized by law and does not permit persons under the age of 18 to be admitted to any Class III gaming facility or to place any wager, directly or indirectly. The SGA maintains and shares with SGC a list of persons barred from the Class III gaming facilities because of criminal histories or associations posing a threat to gaming integrity or safety.

 

(11)  As required by IGRA and the Gaming Ordinance, SGC has constructed, maintained, and operated its gaming facilities in a manner that adequately protects the environment and the public health and safety.

 

(12)  SGC (or its subsidiaries) or the Nation on its behalf maintains liability insurance to compensate injured patrons of Class III gaming facilities. The Nation has established procedures for the adjudication of compensation for tort claims by patrons of Class III gaming facilities.

 

(13)  Except for disputes concerning the games and activities permitted under the Compact, the Nation and New York State have established binding arbitration as a method of resolution of all other disputes concerning compliance with and interpretation of Compact provisions.

 

(14)  The terms and conditions of the Compact may be modified or amended by written agreement of both parties. If the State agrees to permit any other Indian nation or tribe to conduct a Class III game or activity which has not been authorized under the Compact, the State shall notify the Nation, which may then conduct such game or activity upon adoption of the State’s specifications regarding such game or activity.

 

(15)  The Compact is in effect until December 9, 2016, to be renewed for an additional period of seven years unless either party objects in writing, or terminated as a result of any of the following: (1) repeal of IGRA; (2) the Nation adopts a referendum revoking the Nation’s authority to conduct Class III gaming; or (3) either the Nation or the State commits a Material Breach (as defined by the Compact).

 

(16)  The Compact in no way waives the right of the Nation to request negotiations for amendment or modification to the Compact with respect to a Class III game or activity which is to be conducted on Nation lands but which is not permitted under the provisions of the Compact.

 

(17)  Except as specifically provided in the Compact, neither New York State nor the Nation waived its sovereign immunity by entering into the Compact.

 

The President of the Nation and the Governor of New York signed the Compact on August 18, 2002, and, on October 25, 2002, by operation of law, the Compact was deemed approved in accordance with IGRA. The Compact took effect on December 9, 2002, when notice was published in the Federal Register.

 

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Assignment and Plan of Distribution Agreement

 

On May 5, 2004, SGC entered into an Assignment and Plan of Distribution Agreement, or the Assignment Agreement, with the Nation. Pursuant to this agreement, the Nation has adopted a plan of distribution providing that in the event of the dissolution or final liquidation of any of these entities, the net liquidation or dissolution proceeds shall be distributed to SGC. The Nation further assigned to SGC all of its rights, title and interest in and to these proceeds. The Nation entered into the Assignment Agreement because even though SNFGC, STGC, and SEGC are owned by SGC, according to the charters of these subsidiaries, in the event of a liquidation or dissolution of a subsidiary, the Nation, and not SGC, would be entitled to receive the net proceeds of the liquidation or dissolution after all liabilities and obligations of the subsidiary have been paid, satisfied and discharged. Both the Nation and SGC also waived their respective sovereign immunity from unconsented suit and consent to suit in accordance with the Assignment Agreement. Remedies against the Nation are generally limited to specific performance. However, in the event a subsidiary has distributed net liquidation or dissolution proceeds to the Nation and the Nation has not transferred those proceeds to SGC, the Nation may be required to transfer an amount equal to the liquidation proceeds to SGC, or if such remedy is not available, SGC may file a claim for money damages in an amount no greater than the amount of net liquidation or dissolution proceeds not assigned. Any such money damages for which the Nation is liable are only payable from assets held by the Nation, SGC, SNFGC, STGC, or SEGC related to the gaming business, other than real property held in trust for the Nation by the United States.

 

Distribution Agreement

 

On April 27, 2007, SGC entered into a Distribution Agreement among the Nation, the Seneca Nation of Indians Capital Improvements Authority, or the Authority, SGC and Wells Fargo Bank, as Trustee.

 

The Authority is a wholly-owned governmental instrumentality of the Nation formed for the purpose of financing, developing and operating such capital improvements of the Nation as the Nation designates.  On April 27, 2007, the Authority sold an aggregate principal amount of $159,495,000 Special Obligation Bonds to Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith Incorporated, as the initial purchaser, for sale to qualified institutional buyers and investors outside the United States in accordance with Regulation S.  The Special Obligation Bonds were issued in two series, one designated Series 2007-A (tax exempt) in the aggregate principal amount of $119,495,000 (consisting of $32,800,000 aggregate principal amount due 2016 bearing interest at a rate of 5.25%, or Series 2007-A Bonds due 2016, and $86,695,000 aggregate principal amount due 2023 bearing interest at a rate of 5.00%, or Series 2007-A Bonds due 2023) and the other designated Series 2007-B (taxable) in the aggregate principal amount of $40,000,000 due 2013 bearing interest at a rate of 6.75% (the Series 2007-B Bonds), together with the Series 2007-A Bonds due 2016 and Series 2007-A Bonds due 2023, or collectively, the 2007 Bonds).  The 2007 Bonds are governed by an Indenture between the Authority and the Trustee dated April 27, 2007.  The 2007 Bonds are not obligations of SGC or the Nation, and the issuance of the 2007 Bonds will not give rise to an obligation of the Nation to levy any tax or make any appropriation for their payment.

 

The Authority intends to pay the debt service on the 2007 Bonds from certain Distributions (as defined in the Distribution Agreement) that SGC makes to the Nation and, at the direction of the Nation and the Authority, pays directly to the Trustee under the Distribution Agreement.  The Distribution Agreement obligates SGC, subject to any contractual restrictions applicable to it, to make monthly Distributions to the Nation at the times and in the amounts necessary to enable the Authority to pay the debt service on the 2007 Bonds as required under the Authority’s Indenture.  The Distribution Agreement obligates the Nation not to permit SGC to enter into any contractual obligation that would materially adversely affect SGC’s ability to comply with its monthly Distribution obligations under the Distribution Agreement (with it agreed that contractual obligations comparable to those in SGC’s Indenture would not be deemed to violate or breach this covenant). Existing or future contractual obligations of SGC, SGC’s obligations to make the Excluded Payments (as defined in the Distribution Agreement) as well as the results of SGC’s and its consolidated subsidiaries’ gaming operations, may prevent SGC from making these Distributions at the times and in the amounts sufficient to enable the Authority to pay the principal of, premium, if any, and interest on the 2007 Bonds when due whether on their scheduled payment dates, by earlier call for redemption, by acceleration or otherwise.  The Distribution Agreement provides that neither the Trustee nor the Authority’s bondholders will have any recourse under the Distribution Agreement to any revenues, assets or property of SGC or its subsidiaries should SGC fail to comply with its Distribution obligations.  The 2007 Bonds are limited recourse obligations of the Authority payable solely from the Trust Estate (as defined in the Distribution Agreement), consisting almost exclusively of the Pledged Distributions (as defined in the Distribution Agreement).  Recourse to the Nation with respect to its obligations is limited to the Pledged Distributions.

 

Interest on the 2007 Bonds, commencing on the issue date, was payable on December 1, 2007, and continues to be payable on each June 1 and December 1 thereafter.

 

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The Authority is required to redeem the 2007 Bonds at a redemption price equal to the principal amount of the 2007 Bonds to be redeemed plus accrued and unpaid interest to the redemption date, on June 1 and December 1 in the years and in the principal amounts set forth below, subject to certain credits as provided for in the Authority’s Indenture.

 

Mandatory Sinking Fund Redemption

 

Series 2007-A Bonds Due December 1, 2016

 

Date

 

Principal Amount

 

06/01/2013

 

$

2,010,000

 

12/01/2013

 

$

2,005,000

 

06/01/2014

 

$

4,555,000

 

12/01/2014

 

$

4,550,000

 

06/01/2015

 

$

4,790,000

 

12/01/2015

 

$

4,795,000

 

06/01/2016

 

$

5,045,000

 

12/01/2016

 

$

5,050,000

 

 

Series 2007-A Bonds Due December 1, 2023

 

Date

 

Principal Amount

 

06/01/2017

 

$

5,310,000

 

12/01/2017

 

$

5,315,000

 

06/01/2018

 

$

5,580,000

 

12/01/2018

 

$

5,585,000

 

06/01/2019

 

$

5,865,000

 

12/01/2019

 

$

5,865,000

 

06/01/2020

 

$

6,165,000

 

12/01/2020

 

$

6,160,000

 

06/01/2021

 

$

6,475,000

 

12/01/2021

 

$

6,475,000

 

06/01/2022

 

$

6,805,000

 

12/01/2022

 

$

6,800,000

 

06/01/2023

 

$

7,150,000

 

12/01/2023

 

$

7,145,000

 

 

Series 2007-B Bonds Due December 1, 2013

 

Date

 

Principal Amount

 

06/01/2008

 

$

3,085,000

 

12/01/2008

 

$

3,090,000

 

06/01/2009

 

$

3,300,000

 

12/01/2009

 

$

3,300,000

 

06/01/2010

 

$

3,525,000

 

12/01/2010

 

$

3,530,000

 

06/01/2011

 

$

3,765,000

 

12/01/2011

 

$

3,770,000

 

06/01/2012

 

$

4,025,000

 

12/01/2012

 

$

4,030,000

 

06/01/2013

 

$

2,285,000

 

12/01/2013

 

$

2,295,000

 

 

The Authority is required to redeem all of the 2007 Bonds, at a redemption price equal to their principal amount plus accrued and unpaid interest, on the last semi-annual payment date preceding (i) the termination date of the Nation’s Compact with New York State pursuant to paragraph 4(c) thereof or (ii) the termination of such Compact pursuant to paragraph 4(d) thereof.

 

The Authority is required to redeem all of the Series 2007-A Bonds in the event of a Determination of Taxability (generally, a final determination by the Commissioner or any District Director of the Internal Revenue Service or a determination by a

 

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court of competent jurisdiction that interest on the Series 2007-A Bonds is not excludable from gross income for federal income tax purposes under Section 103 of the Code), on a date selected by the Authority but not later than 180 days after such Determination of Taxability, at a redemption price equal to the principal amount thereof plus accrued and unpaid interest to the date of redemption plus a premium equal to 4% of the principal amount thereof.

 

The Authority may, at its option, redeem at any time on June 1, 2017 and on any business day thereafter, all, or from time to time any part of, the Series 2007-A Bonds due 2023 prior to maturity, at a redemption price equal to 100% of the principal amount of the respective Series 2007-A Bonds due 2023 then being redeemed plus accrued and unpaid interest to the redemption date.

 

There is no optional redemption of the Series 2007-A Bonds due 2016 or of the Series 2007-B Bonds.

 

Senior Secured Revolving Loan Agreement

 

Effective June 19, 2008, SGC entered into a $50.0 million Senior Secured Revolving Loan Agreement, which matures on June 19, 2009. The maturity date may be extended by SGC at its election (at any time after the six month anniversary of the closing date and prior to June 19, 2009) for an additional period of six months provided that no default or event of default exists at the time of election.  Amounts borrowed under the loan agreement bear interest at either one, three or six-month LIBOR plus one and one quarter percent (1.25%), or the prime rate (as reported in the The Wall Street Journal) plus one quarter percent (.25%).  Any outstanding principal balance shall be paid on the maturity date.

 

SGC’s obligations under the loan agreement are secured by substantially all gaming and related assets (including substantially all gaming revenues) not constituting real property or improvements.  SGC’s obligations are guaranteed by SNFGC, STGC, SEGC and LGCC.  The guarantors’ obligations are secured by substantially all of each guarantor’s gaming and related assets (including substantially all gaming revenues) not constituting real property or improvements.

 

The loan agreement contains certain financial covenants requiring minimum consolidated EBITDA of $160 million (on a rolling 12 month basis) and compliance with certain leverage  and coverage ratios. The loan agreement also contains additional customary covenants, including covenants restricting the incurrence of additional indebtedness, the creation of additional liens and the disposition of assets.

 

Item 1A.  Risk Factors

 

In addition to the other information in this Annual Report, the following risk factors should be carefully considered in evaluating Seneca Gaming Corporation and our business because such risk factors may have a significant impact on our business, operating results and financial condition. As a result of the risk factors set forth below and elsewhere in this Annual Report, actual results could differ materially from those projected in any forward-looking statements.

 

We have substantial indebtedness and other financial obligations and commitments which could adversely affect our financial condition and prevent us from fulfilling our obligations, including our senior notes.

 

We have substantial indebtedness and significant fixed debt service obligations in addition to our operating expenses. As of September 30, 2008, we had $500.0 million of 7-¼ % senior notes outstanding. The Indenture governing the senior notes permits us and our subsidiaries to incur additional debt in certain, limited circumstances. If we incur additional debt in the future, the related risks could increase.

 

In connection with an April 2007 issuance of $159.5 million of bonds by a governmental instrumentality of the Nation (the “Authority Bonds”), we, subject to any contractual obligations applicable to us, are obligated, pursuant to a distribution agreement governing our distribution obligations with respect to the Authority Bonds (the “Distribution Agreement”), to make monthly distributions to the Nation at the times and in the amounts necessary to pay the debt service on such Authority Bonds.  The foregoing distribution obligations are in addition to distribution commitments to the Nation relating to Compact exclusivity fees, operating lease payments and certain regulatory and shared services expenses.  From time to time, we also become obligated or committed to make additional distributions or payments to the Nation which could increase the related risks.

 

On June 19, 2008, we entered into a $50.0 million Senior Secured Revolving Loan Agreement, which matures on June 19, 2009, unless extended for up to an additional six months. SGC’s obligations under the Senior Secured Revolving Loan

 

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Agreement are secured by substantially all gaming and related assets (including substantially all gaming revenues) not constituting real property or improvements.  SGC’s obligations are guaranteed by SNFGC, STGC, SEGC and LGCC.  The guarantors’ obligations are secured by substantially all of each guarantor’s gaming and related assets (including substantially all gaming revenues) not constituting real property or improvements.

 

Our high level of indebtedness and other financial obligations and commitments could have important consequences to holders of our senior notes and others, and significant adverse effects on our business. For example, it could:

 

·                  increase our vulnerability to general adverse economic and industry conditions or a downturn in our business;

 

·                  limit our ability to obtain additional debt financing for working capital, capital expenditures or other purposes;

 

·                  require us to dedicate a substantial portion of our cash flow from operations to payments on our indebtedness or to meet our other obligations or commitments thereby reducing the availability of our cash flow to fund working capital, capital expenditures, development projects and other general business purposes;

 

·                  limit our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and the industry in which we operate; and

 

·                  place us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors that have less debt and other financial obligations and commitments and/or more financial resources.

 

If our indebtedness and other financial obligations and commitments affect our operations in these ways, our business, financial condition and results of operations could suffer, making it more difficult for us to satisfy such financial obligations.

 

Our failure to generate sufficient cash flow from our operations could adversely affect our ability to make payments on our senior notes and fulfill our other financial obligations and commitments.

 

Our ability to make payments on the senior notes and fulfill our other financial obligations and commitments will depend on our ability to generate cash flow from our current and future operations. Our ability to generate sufficient cash flow to satisfy our financial obligations and commitments will depend on our future operating performance, which is subject to many economic, competitive, regulatory and business factors that are beyond our control. If we are not able to generate sufficient cash flow to pay our financial obligations and commitments we may need to refinance, or modify such obligations, and commitments, sell assets or reduce or delay capital investments, or seek to raise additional capital. For the following reasons, among others, these measures may not be available to us on reasonable terms or at all, or, if available, they may not be adequate to enable us to satisfy our financial obligations, including the senior notes:

 

·                  our ability to incur additional debt will be limited by the covenants of the Indenture governing the senior notes, covenants of the Distribution Agreement and covenants under our Senior Secured Revolving Loan Agreement;

 

·                  the Indenture governing the senior notes and the loan agreement governing our Senior Secured Revolving Loan Agreement include covenants which limit our ability to create additional liens on or sell our assets and the covenants of the Distribution Agreement limit our ability to sell our assets;

 

·                  unlike non-governmental businesses, we are prohibited by law from generating cash through an offering of equity securities.

 

If our cash flow is insufficient and we are unable to raise additional capital, we may not be able to satisfy our financial obligations, and commitments including making payments on our senior notes.

 

Our obligations under the Indenture governing the senior notes are not secured, and the senior note holders’ rights to receive payments on the senior notes are effectively subordinated to SGC’s and the restricted subsidiary guarantors’

 

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secured indebtedness.

 

Holders of SGC’s and the restricted subsidiary guarantors’ secured indebtedness will have claims that are prior to the claims of holders of senior notes to the extent of the value of the assets securing the other indebtedness. The Indenture governing the senior notes permits certain secured indebtedness, including indebtedness under our Senior Secured Revolving Loan Agreement. The senior notes are effectively subordinated to all of that secured indebtedness. In the event of any distribution or payment in any foreclosure, dissolution, winding-up, liquidation, reorganization, or other bankruptcy proceeding, holders of SGC’s and the restricted subsidiary guarantors’ secured indebtedness will have prior claim to those assets that constitute their collateral. Holders of the senior notes will participate ratably with all holders of SGC’s and the restricted subsidiary guarantors’ unsecured indebtedness that is deemed to be of the same class as the senior notes, and potentially with all of SGC’s and the restricted subsidiary guarantors’ other general creditors, based upon the respective amounts owed to each holder or creditor, in the remaining assets. In any of the foregoing events, we cannot assure senior note holders that there will be sufficient assets to pay amounts due on the senior notes. As a result, holders of senior notes may receive less, ratably, than holders of secured indebtedness.

 

As of September 30, 2008, the net amount of the consolidated indebtedness of SGC was approximately $496.4 million.  As of September 30, 2008, at SGC’s request, the lender under the Senior Secured Revolving Loan Agreement had issued letters of credit totaling approximately $16.8 million. On October 29, 2008, SGC borrowed $20 million under the Loan Agreement.  SGC’s obligations under the Senior Secured Revolving Loan Agreement are secured by substantially all gaming and related assets (including substantially all gaming revenues) not constituting real property or improvements.  SGC’s obligations are guaranteed by SNFGC, STGC, SEGC and LGCC.  The guarantors’ obligations are secured by substantially all of each guarantor’s gaming and related assets (including substantially all gaming revenues) not constituting real property or improvements.

 

We are permitted to incur additional indebtedness in the future under the terms of the Indenture governing the senior notes the Distribution Agreement, and the Senior Secured Revolving Loan Agreement.

 

SGC conducts substantially all of its operations through its restricted subsidiaries and may be limited in its ability to access funds from its restricted subsidiaries to meet its obligations, including the senior notes.

 

SGC conducts substantially all of its operations through its restricted subsidiaries. Accordingly, SGC relies on dividends from its restricted subsidiaries to provide funds necessary to meet its obligations, including the payment of principal and interest on the senior notes. The ability of any restricted subsidiary to pay dividends or make cash distributions to SGC may be contractually restricted. If SGC is unable to access the cash flows from its restricted subsidiaries, SGC may have difficulty meeting its obligations and commitments, including the senior notes. Although the Indenture governing the senior notes, the Distribution Agreement and the Senior Secured Revolving Loan Agreement restrict our ability to incur additional indebtedness, those restrictions are subject to exceptions.

 

The senior notes are not the obligation of the Nation and the senior note holders’ rights as creditors are limited to the assets of SGC and the restricted subsidiary guarantors.

 

SGC and the restricted subsidiary guarantors are liable exclusively for the payment of the senior notes. The Nation is not obligated for the payment of the senior notes. The assets of the Nation and its affiliates other than SGC and the restricted subsidiary guarantors will not be available to pay the senior notes. Therefore, the senior note holders’ rights as creditors in a bankruptcy, liquidation or reorganization or similar proceeding would be limited to the assets of SGC and the restricted subsidiary guarantors and the senior note holders would have no right to the assets of the Nation or its other affiliates.

 

The senior note holders’ ability to enforce their rights or have an adequate remedy against the Nation and us may be limited by the sovereign immunity of the Nation and us. If senior note holders are unable to enforce their rights, they may lose their entire investment in the senior notes.

 

We issued the senior notes pursuant to the Indenture. In addition, in connection with our issuance of the senior notes, the Nation entered into the Nation Agreement with the Trustee pursuant to which the Nation agreed not to take certain actions

 

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with respect to us while the senior notes were outstanding. References to the “Nation Agreement” are to the Nation Agreement as amended on May 23, 2005. On May 5, 2004, the Nation entered into an assignment and plan of distribution agreement, or the Assignment Agreement, with SGC pursuant to which the Nation assigned to SGC the Nation’s rights to the net proceeds in the event of a liquidation or dissolution of SNFGC, STGC or SEGC and pursuant to the plan of distribution, the net liquidation or dissolution proceeds of such entities shall be distributed by such entities directly to SGC. See “Item 1. - Business—Material Agreements—Assignment and Plan of Distribution Agreement.” Under federal law, we and the Nation have sovereign immunity and may not be sued without our and its consent, respectively. In the Indenture governing the senior notes, we do, and, in the Nation Agreement and the Assignment Agreement, the Nation does, grant a limited waiver of sovereign immunity and consent to suits to interpret or enforce the Indenture governing the senior notes, and the other agreements entered into in connection with the respective offerings involving the senior notes. This waiver does not extend to all possible claims or remedies that a holder of the senior notes might allege or seek against us or the Nation. Specifically, the waiver limits available remedies to specific performance in most cases and limited money damages equal to the amount of a payment made in prohibition of the Indenture governing the senior notes or to the amount of the net liquidation or dissolution proceeds not assigned to SGC; provided, that, such money damages are only payable from assets held by the Nation, SGC, SNFGC, STGC, SEGC or other restricted subsidiary and used in connection with a “related business” (as defined in the Indenture), other than real property held in trust for the Nation by the United States. In the event that a New York court would find that specific performance is not an available remedy, the trustee and the holders of the senior notes may not have an adequate remedy against the Nation under the Nation Agreement and the Assignment Agreement. Furthermore, in the event that the Nation’s or our limited waiver of sovereign immunity is unenforceable, the trustee and the holders of the senior notes could be precluded from judicially enforcing their rights and remedies under the senior notes, the Indenture governing the senior notes, the Nation Agreement, and the Assignment Agreement.

 

Although we are subject to federal securities laws and could be liable with respect to any civil or criminal enforcement action brought by the United States government, we and the Nation have not waived our sovereign immunity from private civil suits, including for violations of the federal securities laws. Accordingly, the holders of the senior notes may not have any remedy against us or the Nation for violations of the federal or state securities laws if we raise sovereign immunity as an affirmative defense and it is accepted by the applicable court of law.

 

Uncertainty exists as to whether a federal or state court would have jurisdiction in an action related to the senior notes.

 

Obtaining jurisdiction over an Indian tribe and tribal instrumentalities, such as the Nation and us, can be difficult. Often, a commercial dispute with an Indian tribe or tribal instrumentality cannot be heard in federal court because the typical requirements for federal jurisdiction are absent. The failure to satisfy the requirements for federal jurisdiction occurs because there is generally no federal law question involved and there is no diversity of citizenship because an Indian tribe is not considered to be a citizen of a state for purposes of obtaining federal diversity jurisdiction.

 

The extent to which state courts will assume jurisdiction over disputes involving Indian tribes varies from state to state. The senior notes, the Indenture governing the senior notes and the related agreements are governed by the laws of New York State. There is conflicting case law on the issue of whether state courts can assert jurisdiction over disputes with Indian tribes or tribal instrumentalities. Federal law provides that the state courts of New York have jurisdiction over civil matters involving Indians.  However, it is possible that neither a federal nor a state court would accept jurisdiction to resolve a matter involving the senior notes and the holders of the senior notes may have no legal recourse to a state or federal court.

 

Under certain legal doctrines, a federal court or state court otherwise having jurisdiction may decline to hear a matter involving an Indian tribe and instead defer the matter for disposition in a tribal court or other tribal proceedings. For matters subject to the waiver of sovereign immunity by the Nation and us, the Nation and we have waived our rights to have these matters resolved in any tribal court or other proceeding of the Nation. There is case law, however, suggesting these rights may not be waived. The Nation has a tribal court system, and a federal or state court may defer to such Nation courts if, contrary to the waiver of sovereign immunity by us and the Nation, we or the Nation seek or allege our or their right to seek tribal proceedings for resolution of a dispute related to the senior notes. The Nation court system is different from federal and state civil courts. For example, there is no requirement that a judge be a lawyer and the Nation’s highest court, the Supreme court, is comprised of the sixteen Nation Councilors who are the elected Councilors to the Nation’s Council, the governing body of the Nation, and the Nation’s President. The Nation courts may reach a different conclusion than the federal or state courts would and this may have a material adverse effect on the rights of the senior note holders.

 

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Additionally, depending on the particular claim asserted, certain disputes may be required to be heard in Nation courts.  For example, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that claims under the federal Indian Civil Rights Act can only be brought in tribal courts, and lower federal and state courts have held, on occasion, that tribal law may only be interpreted in tribal courts.

 

Additionally, any non-Nation court judgment requiring satisfaction or enforcement within Nation territories may require that an order for such enforcement be issued by Nation courts.  Nation courts do not have specific rules related to granting full faith and credit to judgments of courts of the United States or New York State, except to the extent that an application for an order of attachment is made in the Nation courts and federal law requires the Nation courts to give full faith and credit to such a judgment.

 

Accordingly, holders of senior notes or the trustee under the Indenture governing the senior notes may have difficulty bringing suits against the Nation and us in federal or state court.

 

Senior note holders may be required to dispose of their senior notes, or their senior notes may be redeemed, if their ownership of the senior notes jeopardizes our gaming operations or violates the Compact.

 

We may have the right to cause senior note holders to dispose of their senior notes, or to redeem their senior notes, if regulations are promulgated pursuant to which their ownership of the senior notes is determined to be unsuitable by the Seneca Gaming Authority or the New York State Racing and Wagering Board. In such event, the redemption price will be the lowest of the amount paid for the senior notes, the principal amount of the senior notes and the then current fair market value of the senior notes.

 

It is uncertain whether we or the Nation may be subject to the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, which could impair the senior note holders’ ability to realize on our assets.

 

It is uncertain whether we or the Nation may be a debtor in a case under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Without bankruptcy court protection, other creditors might receive preferential payments or otherwise obtain more than they would have under a bankruptcy court proceeding. If either we or the Nation commence a case under the Bankruptcy Code and the bankruptcy court does not dismiss the case, payments from the debtor would cease. It is uncertain how long payments under the senior notes could be delayed following commencement of a bankruptcy case.

 

If the guarantees of the senior notes are deemed fraudulent conveyances or preferential transfers, a court may subordinate or void them.

 

The restricted subsidiary guarantors have incurred substantial debt under the guarantees of the senior notes. The incurrence by the restricted subsidiary guarantors of debt under their guarantees may be subject to review under federal and state fraudulent conveyance laws if a bankruptcy, reorganization or rehabilitation case or a lawsuit, including circumstances in which bankruptcy is not involved, were commenced by, or on behalf of, unpaid creditors of the restricted subsidiary guarantors at some future date. Federal and state statutes allow courts, under specific circumstances, to void guarantees and related liens and require note holders to return payments received from the issuer or the guarantors.

 

An unpaid creditor or representative of creditors could file a lawsuit claiming that the issuance of guarantees constituted a “fraudulent conveyance.” To make such a determination, a court would have to find that a restricted subsidiary guarantor did not receive fair consideration or reasonably equivalent value for the guarantee, and that, at the time the guarantee was issued, such restricted subsidiary guarantor:

 

·                  was insolvent;

 

·                  was rendered insolvent by the issuance of the senior notes;

 

·                  was engaged in a business or transaction for which its remaining assets constituted unreasonably small capital; or

 

·                  intended to incur, or believed that it would incur, debts beyond its ability to repay as those debts matured.

 

If a court were to make such a finding in respect to a restricted subsidiary guarantor’s guarantee, it could void all or a portion of such restricted subsidiary guarantor’s obligations under its guarantee of the senior notes, subordinate the claim in respect of its guarantee to its other existing and future indebtedness or take other actions detrimental to holders of the senior notes,

 

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including, in certain circumstances, invalidating the guarantees of the senior notes.

 

The measure of insolvency for these purposes will vary depending upon the law of the jurisdiction being applied. Generally, however, a company will be considered insolvent for these purposes if the sum of that company’s debts is greater than the fair value of all of that company’s property, or if the present fair salable value of that company’s assets is less than the amount that will be required to pay its probable liability on its existing debts as they mature. Moreover, regardless of insolvency, a court could void an incurrence of indebtedness, including the senior notes, if it determined that the transaction was made with intent to hinder, delay or defraud creditors, or a court could subordinate the indebtedness, including the senior notes or the guarantees, to the claims of all existing and future creditors on similar grounds. We cannot determine in advance what standard a court would apply to determine whether we were “insolvent” in connection with the sale of the senior notes.

 

There is a risk of a preferential transfer if:

 

·                  a restricted subsidiary guarantor declares bankruptcy or its creditors force it to declare bankruptcy within 90 days (or in certain cases, one year) after a payment on the guarantee; or

 

·                  a guarantee was made in contemplation of insolvency.

 

A guarantee could be voided by a court as a preferential transfer. In addition, a court could require holders of senior notes to return any payments made on the senior notes during the 90-day (or one-year) period.

 

Each guarantee contains a provision intended to limit the restricted subsidiary guarantor’s liability to the maximum amount that it could incur without causing the incurrence of obligations under its guarantee to be a fraudulent conveyance. This provision may not be effective to protect the guarantees from being voided under a fraudulent conveyance law.

 

SGC and the restricted subsidiary guarantors may not be able to repurchase senior notes upon a change of control.

 

The Indenture governing the senior notes requires SGC and the restricted subsidiary guarantors to repurchase all outstanding notes at 101% of the principal amount thereof plus accrued and unpaid interest, if any, upon the occurrence of specific kinds of change of control events. SGC and the restricted subsidiary guarantors may not have sufficient funds to purchase the senior notes after a change of control. SGC’s and the restricted subsidiary guarantors’ failure to purchase the senior notes would be a default under the Indenture governing the senior notes.

 

We are controlled by the Nation and the interests of the Nation may conflict with the interests of senior note holders.

 

The restricted subsidiary guarantors are wholly owned, directly or indirectly, and controlled by SGC, which is wholly owned and controlled by the Nation. Circumstances may occur in which the interests of the Nation, the Council or the members of the Nation could be in conflict with the interests of a holder of the senior notes. In particular, the Nation, the Council or the members of the Nation could make business or other decisions that may affect a senior note holder. For example, the Nation, subject to the restrictions in the Indenture, the Distribution Agreement, and Senior Secured Revolving Loan Agreement, could decide to expand our facilities, incur more debt, increase distributions or other payments to the Nation, dispose of assets or enter into other transactions that, in their judgment, are in their interest, even though these transactions might involve risks to holders of the senior notes, including making it more difficult for us to make payments on the senior notes and for the restricted subsidiary guarantors to guarantee these payments.  Additionally, the Nation’s sovereign interests may result in policies or decisions that may conflict with the interests’ of the senior note holders. For example, the Nation may determine not to approve a limited waiver of sovereign immunity in connection with a potential commercially favorable transaction between us and a third party, based principally on sovereignty considerations rather than customary commercial considerations, resulting in the loss of that commercially favorable business opportunity. The loss of this opportunity could adversely affect us and, as a result, the senior note holders.

 

The Nation has a limited body of laws and has not adopted a corporate code. As a result, legal terms used in this Annual Report, the Indenture governing the senior notes and other relevant documents may have different meanings under the laws of the Nation than under laws with which you are familiar.

 

The Nation has a limited number of laws, which primarily consist of the Nation’s constitution, a limited number of ordinances and codes, Council resolutions and judicial interpretations of Nation law. Because the body and scope of the Nation’s laws are not as fully developed as federal and state law, in many instances under Nation law it is difficult to predict

 

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how and which laws will be applied. In particular, the Nation has not adopted a corporate code. Therefore, terms used in this Annual Report, the Indenture governing the senior notes and other relevant documents, including, but not limited to, terms such as “liquidation” and “dissolution” that may require application and interpretation of the Nation’s laws may have no defined meanings under those laws or may have meanings different from what one is accustomed to finding under laws with which one is familiar.

 

A change in the Nation’s current tax-exempt status could have a material adverse effect on our ability to repay our financial obligations, including the senior notes.

 

Based on current interpretation of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Code, neither the Nation or SGC is subject to federal income or property taxes. There can be no assurance that Congress will not reverse or modify the exemption for Indian tribes from federal income or property taxation. Efforts have been made in Congress in the past to amend the Code to provide for taxation of the net income of tribal business entities. These have included a House of Representatives bill that would have taxed gaming income earned by Indian tribes as unrelated business income subject to corporate tax rates. Although no such legislation has been enacted, it could be enacted in the future. The imposition of federal income tax on our earnings could reduce the amount available to us to fulfill our obligations. As a result, future proposals or amendments in this area could materially adversely affect our ability to fulfill our financial obligations, including the senior notes.

 

We are subject to greater risks than a geographically diverse company.

 

We currently rely exclusively on cash flow from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel and, to a lesser extent, Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino temporary facility to meet our obligations and commitments, including the senior notes. While we expect to expand the geographic scope of our patron base as a result of our completed expansion projects, our Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel relies primarily on patrons from within a 100-mile radius for its cash flow, Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel relies primarily on patrons from within an 80-mile radius for its cash flow and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino temporary facility relies primarily on patrons from within a 30-mile radius. Further, our future expansion plans (currently suspended) for additional and expanded casino operations as permitted by the Compact are limited to Western New York. As a result, in addition to our susceptibility to adverse global and domestic economic, political and business conditions, any economic downturn in the Western New York region could have a material adverse effect on our operations. A regional economic downturn would likely cause a decline in the disposable income of consumers in the Western New York region, which could result in a decrease in the number of patrons at Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel, Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, as well as in the frequency of their visits and the average amount that they would each be willing to spend at the casinos. We are subject to greater risks than more geographically diverse gaming or resort operations, including:

 

·                  a downturn in national, regional or local economic conditions;

 

·                  an increase in competition in New York or the Northeastern United States and Canada, particularly for day-trip patrons residing in New York State, including the development of new Indian casinos and the establishment of VGM’s and proposed electronic table games at certain racetracks in New York, and slot machines and traditional or electronic table games in Pennsylvania;

 

·                  impeded access due to road construction or closures of primary access routes; and

 

·                  adverse weather, and natural and other disasters in the Northeastern United States and Canada.

 

We cannot assure you that our property, casualty, terrorism and business interruption insurance will be adequate or available to cover all the risks to which our business and assets may be subject. The occurrence of any one of the events described above could cause a material disruption in our business and make us unable to generate sufficient cash flow to fulfill our financial obligations, including the senior notes.

 

We compete with casinos, other forms of gaming and entertainment and other resort properties. If we are unable to compete successfully, we may not be able to generate sufficient cash flow to fund our operations or fulfill our financial obligations as they become due, including the senior notes.

 

Our casino operations compete with casinos, other forms of gaming and entertainment, and other resort properties located within and outside New York State. We face intense competition in our primary and secondary market areas, in addition to competition from casinos and gaming operations in our broader regional market. New market entrants in New York State,

 

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Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the Northeastern United States could also adversely affect our operations and our ability to meet our financial obligations and commitments. For a more extensive discussion regarding our competition, see “Item 1. - Business—Market and Competition.”

 

If we are unable to retain our key personnel, our ability to execute our business strategy could be impaired.

 

The continued services of our key operating and executive personnel are important to our future success. The loss of the services of such key operating and executive personnel could have an adverse impact on us. There can be no assurance that the services of such personnel will continue to be made available to us. We do not maintain key person life insurance policies on any of our executives.  As previously disclosed, effective February 7, 2007, John Pasqualoni, SGC’s President and Chief Executive Officer, and Joseph D’Amato, SGC’s Chief Operating Officer, resigned for personal reasons.  Brian Hansberry, SGC’s former General Manager of Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel was appointed as interim President and Chief Executive Officer and as of September 19, 2007, the appointment was made permanent.  Catherine Walker was appointed Chief Operating Officer on April 25, 2008.  Effective April 11, 2008, Patrick M. Fox, SGC’s Chief Financial Officer, resigned for personal reasons.  David Sheridan was appointed Chief Financial Officer as of July 1, 2008.

 

We could face difficulties in attracting and retaining qualified employees.

 

The operation of the expanded facilities of Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel and the planned construction and opening of a permanent Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino and Hotel will require us to hire additional qualified executives and managers and a significant number of additional skilled employees with gaming and hospitality industry experience and qualifications. See “Item 3. Legal Proceedings” for a discussion of litigation affecting, among other matters, our planned permanent Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino and Hotel. There can be no assurance that we will be able to recruit, train and retain a sufficient number of additional qualified employees, particularly due to the very small number of workers skilled in the gaming industry that reside in the immediate vicinity of our casinos.

 

The Indenture governing the senior notes contains various covenants and provisions that limit our management’s discretion in the operation of our business.

 

The Indenture governing the senior notes includes covenants and provisions that, among other things, restrict our ability to:

 

·                  incur additional debt;

 

·                  make investments;

 

·                  create liens;

 

·                  enter into transactions with affiliates;

 

·                  sell assets;

 

·                  merge, consolidate or sell substantially all of our assets; and

 

·                  make capital expenditures.

 

All of these restrictive covenants may limit our ability to expand our operations or to pursue our business strategies. Changes in business conditions or results of operations, adverse regulatory developments or other events beyond our control may affect our ability to comply with these and other provisions of the Indenture governing the senior notes. The breach of any of these covenants could result in a default under this indebtedness, which could cause those obligations to become due and payable. If this indebtedness were to be accelerated, we cannot assure you that we would be able to pay such indebtedness.

 

The Senior Secured Revolving Loan Agreement contains various covenants and provisions that limit our management’s discretion in the operation of our business.

 

The Senior Secured Revolving Loan Agreement includes covenants and provisions that, among other things, restrict our ability to:

 

·                  incur additional debt;

 

·                  make investments;

 

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·                  create liens;

 

·                  enter into transactions with affiliates;

 

·                  sell assets;

 

·                  merge, consolidate or sell substantially all of our assets; and

 

·                  make capital expenditures.

 

The Senior Secured Revolving Loan Agreement further includes certain financial covenants requiring minimum consolidated EBITDA of $160 million (on a rolling 12 month basis) and compliance with certain leverage and coverage ratios. All of these covenants may limit our ability to expand our operations or to pursue our business strategies. Changes in business conditions or results of operations, adverse regulatory developments or other events beyond our control may affect our ability to comply with these and other provisions of the Senior Secured Revolving Loan Agreement. The breach of any of these covenants could result in a default under this indebtedness, which could cause these obligations to become due and payable. If this indebtedness were to be accelerated, we cannot assure you that we would be able to pay such indebtedness.

 

Our operations could be adversely affected during our expansion.

 

Although construction activities related to our expansion projects have been suspended, future construction activities relating to expansion projects will be planned to minimize disruptions, construction noise and debris may disrupt our operations. Unexpected construction delays could exacerbate or magnify these disruptions. We cannot assure you that future construction activities will not have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

 

Failure to complete expansion projects and any other future development projects on budget and on time could adversely affect our financial condition.

 

When and if we resume construction at the Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel and the permanent Seneca Buffalo Creek facility, such expansion projects are, and any future expansion projects will be, subject to significant development and construction risks, any of which could cause unanticipated cost increases and delays. These include, among others, the following:

 

·                  shortages of material and skilled labor;

 

·                  material price escalation;

 

·                  failure to generate sufficient operating cash flow, or obtain financing, to meet our construction needs;

 

·                  potential cash shortages;

 

·                  labor disputes and work stoppages;

 

·                  weather interference or delays;

 

·                  engineering problems;

 

·                  environmental problems;

 

·                  regulatory problems;

 

·                  changes to the plans or specifications;

 

·                  fire, earthquake, flood and other natural disasters; and

 

·                  geological, construction, excavation and equipment problems.

 

Failure to complete any expansion project on time and within budget may cause us to devote additional resources to the project, which could divert time, money and attention away from our casino operations and could cause our business to

 

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suffer.

 

Should current challenging economic and capital market conditions, operating and other demands on our available cash and increased competition and construction costs continue, we may not be able to complete our currently suspended expansion projects, when and if resumed, in a timely manner or at all.

 

We may not be able to generate enough cash flow, or obtain financing, to complete our current and any future expansion projects.

 

In 2008, we commenced construction of our next phase of development at Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, providing for an additional 200 room hotel, 30,000 square feet of additional gaming space, related amenities and landscaping and exterior enhancements to the property as a whole.  In 2008, we also commenced construction of a permanent casino and hotel complex on the Buffalo Creek Territory having an estimated cost of $333 million, designed to initially feature approximately 90,000 square feet of gaming space, 2,000 slot machines,46 table games,a 22-story all-suite hotel, 2,200-space parking garage, and related dining and other amenities.

 

On August 27, 2008 we suspended construction of these projects due to various factors, including challenging economic and capital market conditions, operating and other demands on our available cash (including distributions to the Nation and increases in operating lease payments) and increased competition and construction costs.  We continue to monitor these factors and ongoing developments.

 

We intend to fund any future expansion projects with cash flow from operations and external financing. There can be no assurance that we will be able to generate the required amount of cash from our operations or obtain financing on acceptable terms, if at all, to complete any or all of these projects. In addition, distributions and payments to the Nation, including distributions pursuant to the Distribution Agreement, will result in our cash flow being diverted from our expansion projects. During Fiscal 2008, we distributed $50.9 million to the Nation pursuant to general distribution declarations and $14.9 million to the Nation pursuant to the Distribution Agreement. If we are not able to generate enough cash to pay for our expansion projects or obtain financing with acceptable terms, if at all, our projects may be further delayed. Further, if we incur additional debt to cover the cost of our expansion projects, risks related to indebtedness could increase. If we cannot generate enough cash or find alternative sources of funding to expand our operations, our business, financial condition and results from operations could be materially adversely affected and we may not be able to make payments on the senior notes or meet our other financial obligations and commitments.

 

We have limited experience operating casinos and hotels in Western New York.

 

Our casinos have only been in operation since December 31, 2002 (as to the then-Seneca Niagara Falls Casino), May 1, 2004 (as to the then-Seneca Allegany Casino) and July 3, 2007 (as to the Buffalo Creek Casino temporary facility), respectively, and we have limited experience operating our hotels in Niagara Falls and Salmanca, New York. Our current suspended expansion plans include constructing and opening a permanent casino and hotel in Buffalo, New York. We may experience difficulties in operating multiple casinos and hotels in a limited geographic region. Further, the addition of our two hotels and other new and untested amenities to our existing casinos have many of the same risks inherent in the establishment of a new business enterprise because we have limited operating history in those activities. We may not be able to identify timely or to anticipate all of the material risks associated with operating that business or additional casinos. Our lack of operating history in these new ventures may adversely affect our future operating results, ability to generate adequate cash flow and ability to fulfill our obligations and commitments, including the senior notes.

 

Our business could be affected by weather-related factors and seasonality.

 

Our results of operations may be adversely affected by weather-related and seasonal factors. Since opening, Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel’s, Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel’s and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino’s gaming revenue have not been materially affected by severe weather conditions, but severe winter weather conditions may deter or prevent patrons from reaching our gaming facilities or undertaking day trips. In addition, some recreational activities, such as tourism, are curtailed during the winter months. Although our cash flow management system assumes seasonal fluctuations in gaming revenue for our casinos to ensure adequate cash flow during expected periods of lower revenue, there can be no assurance that weather-related and seasonal factors will not have a material adverse effect on our operations. Our limited operating history makes it difficult to predict the future effects of seasonality on our business, if any.

 

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Although litigation challenging the validity of our Compact and our right to conduct Class III gaming in New York State has been unsuccessful to date, the validity of the Compact and our right to conduct Class III gaming in New York State could still be challenged in court or otherwise adversely affected by legislation, regulation, or judicial action relating to gaming generally, or our right to conduct Class III gaming, in particular.

 

In October 2001, the New York Legislature passed Chapter 383 of the Laws of 2001, or Chapter 383, which allowed former Governor Pataki to enter into a gaming compact with the Seneca Nation of Indians and to enter into gaming compacts with other Indian tribes for the establishment of three additional casinos in the Catskills. Chapter 383 also approved the installation of VGMs at certain racetracks.

 

In January 2002, two actions were filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Albany, challenging the validity of Chapter 383. The actions were captioned Dalton v. Pataki, et al, and Karr v. Pataki, et al. Plaintiffs sought a judgment declaring the legislation unconstitutional and enjoining its implementation. These two cases were consolidated and we refer to both cases below as Dalton v. Pataki.

 

On July 17, 2003, the New York Supreme Court dismissed the plaintiffs’ complaints in Dalton v. Pataki and held that Chapter 383 is constitutional. The plaintiffs appealed the Court’s decision to the Third Department of the New York Supreme Court’s Appellate Division and oral argument was held on December 16, 2003. On July 7, 2004, a five-judge panel issued its Opinion and Order declaring the provisions of Chapter 383 authorizing the additional compacts constitutional, the licensing of VGMs to racetracks to be unconstitutional due to the impermissible revenue distribution scheme set forth therein and the provision of Chapter 383 authorizing the Division of the Lottery to participate in the multi-state lottery constitutional.

 

On May 3, 2005, the New York Court of Appeals held all of Chapter 383 (including the licensing of VGMs to racetracks) to be constitutional. In July 2005, the New York Court of Appeals, the State’s highest court, denied a motion to rehear the case.  Appellants filed a writ of certiorari seeking review by the United States Supreme Court.  On November 28, 2005, the United States Supreme Court denied the writ.

 

If New York State were to make various forms of gaming illegal or against public policy (or the courts were to similarly rule), or otherwise to take a legal position adverse to us, such actions could affect the ability of the Nation to conduct those forms of gaming under the Compact, which could have a material adverse effect on our ability to conduct our gaming operations as currently conducted.

 

If our ability to operate Class III gaming facilities on land held in restricted fee were successfully challenged, it would have a material adverse effect on our ability to conduct gaming operations in Niagara Falls and Erie County pursuant to the Compact.

 

Background

 

Under IGRA, Indian tribes can conduct class III gaming only on “Indian lands” as defined in that Act. “Indian lands,” under IGRA, means “(A) all lands within the limits of any Indian reservation; and (B) any lands title to which is either held in trust by the United States for the benefit of any Indian tribe or individual or held by any Indian tribe or individual subject to restriction by the United States against alienation and over which an Indian tribe exercises governmental power” (25 U.S.C. § 2703(4)).

 

In 1990, Congress enacted the Seneca Nation Land Claims Settlement Act, or SNLCSA, which provides the Nation with fair compensation for use of its land and for the impact on the Nation from prior lease arrangements in the City of Salamanca, New York. The funds appropriated under the SNLCSA are available for the Nation to acquire land, which could be placed into restricted fee status. The Compact authorizes the Nation to use funds appropriated under the SNLCSA to acquire parcels of land in Niagara Falls and Erie County for gaming purposes. The U.S. Secretary of the Interior and the National Indian Gaming Commission, or NIGC, have determined that the Nation possesses jurisdiction over lands acquired by the Nation and placed into restricted fee status pursuant to SNLCSA, and that such lands constitute Indian lands under IGRA. Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel is located on lands so acquired, and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino is (as to the temporary facility) and will be (as to the proposed permanent facility) located on lands so acquired.  It is possible that some person or group could successfully challenge the Secretary’s conclusion that the Nation is authorized to use such land for gaming purposes pursuant to IGRA.  If the Secretary’s or the NIGC’s determination that the Nation is authorized to use such land for gaming

 

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purposes pursuant to IGRA were successfully challenged, the Nation would be unable to conduct any gaming under IGRA at its current gaming facility in Niagara Falls or existing and proposed gaming facilities in Erie County. However, such an adverse determination would not affect the ability of the Nation to operate its Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, which is located on existing Nation reservation territory.

 

Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County v. Kempthorne (1:06-cv-00001-WMS (WDNY)) (formerly Citizens Against Casino Gambling v. Norton) – CACGEC I

 

In January 2006, an action was filed in the United States District Court, Western District of New York by various plaintiffs against the United States Department of Interior, the National Indian Gaming Commission and three individuals in their official capacities as Secretary of the Interior, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs and Chairman of the NIGC.  The action seeks declaratory and injunctive relief under the Administrative Procedure Act, the Declaratory Judgments Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, or NHPA, the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, and the Indian Regulatory Gaming Act and is principally directed at the decisions and actions of the defendants that permit the construction and operation of our Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino.  The plaintiffs claim that the defendants have failed to comply with NEPA, NHPA, and IGRA and have requested that the Court take numerous actions including declaring that the two parcels consisting of approximately nine acres in Buffalo, New York, or the Buffalo Parcels, acquired by the Nation pursuant to SNLCSA are not Indian lands within the meaning of IGRA and declaring that the Nation’s Compact violates IGRA. On November 1, 2006, oral argument was heard on the defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, on the Nation’s amicus motion to dismiss based upon failure to join the Nation as a necessary party and sovereign immunity, and on the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment.

 

On January 12, 2007, the district court vacated the NIGC’s approval of the Nation’s 2002 gaming ordinance as it pertains to gaming conducted on the Buffalo Parcel and remanded the decision to the NIGC to determine whether the Buffalo Parcels constitute “Indian Lands” under IGRA.  The court also granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, denied the Nation’s motion to dismiss (holding, in part, that the Nation was not a necessary party because the U.S. government’s interests were aligned with those of the Nation and that the U.S. government (through the U.S. Department of Justice) was vigorously defending the case), and denied, as moot, the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment.  In reaching its decision to dismiss on the basis of a lack of subject matter jurisdiction, the court determined that, notwithstanding the U.S. Department of Interior’s prior determination that the Nation’s Buffalo Creek Territory constitutes “Indian Lands” within the meaning of the IGRA, the NIGC must make its own “Indian Lands” determination, and ordered that the Nation’s 2002 gaming ordinance (which had been approved by the NIGC) be vacated insofar as it permits Class III gaming on the Nation’s Buffalo Creek Territory. The court specifically limited its holding to the Nation’s Buffalo Creek Territory. After the court denied the government’s motion for reconsideration, both the plaintiffs and the defendants appealed.  On January 29, 2007, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion for reconsideration, which was denied by the court on April 20, 2007, noting that the government asserted no new arguments.

 

On June 9, 2007, the Nation enacted and submitted to the NIGC an amended gaming site-specific Class III gaming ordinance.  The amended ordinance was identical to the prior approved ordinance, except the new Ordinance’s definition of “Nation Lands” now contains a site-specific legal description of the Buffalo Parcels.  The definition also states that the land specified is held by the Nation in restricted fee pursuant to the SNLCSA.  On June 19, 2007, the defendants and plaintiffs filed notices of appeal.  On June 25, 2007, the plaintiffs filed a motion for a stay of the proceedings remanded to the NIGC pending the outcome of the appeal.  The NIGC approved the new ordinance on July 2, 2007.  On July 3, 2007, the defendants filed a notice of NIGC approval of the ordinance revising the definition of “Nation Lands”.  On August, 6, 2007, the defendants filed a response to the plaintiffs’ motion to stay, stating that the gaming ordinance at issue in this case is superseded by the Nation’s June 9, 2007, site-specific ordinance, approved by the NIGC on July 2, 2007.  This, the U.S. argues, moots the case as to the NIGC and moots the motion for a stay pending appeal.

 

The U.S. Department of Justice has discontinued its appeal of the January 12, 2007 order in the initial CACGEC federal suit.  On November 9, 2007, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the plaintiffs’ appeal pending the resolution of the second federal court action described below (Citizens Against Casino Gambling v. Hogen (1:07-cv-00451-WMS (WDNY)).

 

Although the court permitted the Nation to file a brief as amicus curiae, the Nation is not a party to this action, and as such, neither it nor SGC has the ability to direct or control any aspect of the litigation.

 

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If the plaintiffs are successful, the Nation could be unable to conduct any gaming upon lands acquired by the Nation pursuant to the SNLCSA.

 

Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County v. Hogen (1:07-cv-00451-WMS (WDNY)) — CACGEC II

 

On July 12, 2007, Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County  (CACGEC) filed a second action in the United States District Court, Western District of New York against the United States Department of Interior, the NIGC and two individuals in their official capacities as Secretary of the Interior and Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission, respectively.  The action seeks declaratory and injunctive relief under the Administrative Procedure Act, the Declaratory Judgments Act, and IGRA and is principally directed at the decisions and actions of the defendants in approving the Nation’s Class III gaming ordinance, and the Indian land opinion issued by the Chairman relative to that approval.  The plaintiffs claim that the defendants have failed to comply with federal law and have requested that the court take numerous actions including declaring that the lands acquired by the Nation pursuant to SNLCSA are not Indian lands within the meaning of IGRA.

 

Plaintiffs moved for summary judgment and defendants moved to dismiss.  Neither the Nation nor SGC is party to this action.  The Nation filed an amicus brief on the “Indian lands” issues.

 

On July 8, 2008, the court issued its decision and order finding (a) that the NIGC’s determination that the Nation’s Buffalo Creek Territory is “Indian country” was in accord with Congress’ intent in enacting the SNLCSA, and (b) that the NIGC’s July 2, 2007 determination that the Nation’s Buffalo Creek Territory is gaming-eligible land pursuant to the IGRA’s settlement of a land claim exception is arbitrary, capricious, and not in accordance with the law.

 

The court’s decision did not provide for injunctive relief, and SGC has continued its operations at the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino.  Plaintiffs subsequently filed a motion on July 14, 2008 to force the court to enforce its judgment.

 

In response to ongoing events in the litigation, on July 16, 2008, the Nation submitted a new gaming ordinance to the NIGC, so that the NIGC could consider the applicability of new Department of Interior regulations concluding that lands like Buffalo Creek Territory are exempt from Section 20 of IGRA’s prohibition on gaming.

 

On July 22, 2008, the United States filed a motion responding to the plaintiffs motion to enforce and requesting that the case be remanded to the NIGC for further consideration. The remand motion is based upon significant changes in the controlling law, as interpreted by the U.S. Department of Interior.  The Nation simultaneously filed an amicus brief supporting the United States’ motion for remand to the NIGC and opposing the plaintiffs’ motion to enforce.  On August 26, 2008, the court issued its decision on the foregoing motions and granted the plaintiffs’ request that the court enforce its July 8, 2008 decision and order to the extent that the NIGC and its Chairman are directed to carry out their enforcement duties under IGRA. The plaintiffs’ motion was denied to the extent that they requested an order that would divest the NIGC of its discretion to determine the type of enforcement action to take.

 

On September 3, 2008, the Chairman of the NIGC issued a “notice of violation” or “NOV” to the Nation as a result of the August 26, 2008 decision. The NOV asserts that the Nation has violated IGRA by operating the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino without an approved Class III gaming ordinance for that facility because the gaming ordinance for those lands authorized gaming on lands in Buffalo that the district court deemed ineligible for gaming.  The NOV further states that although the NIGC disagrees with the district court’s interpretation of IGRA regarding the Buffalo Creek parcel’s eligibility for gaming under IGRA, the NIGC, at the current time, was bound by the district court’s ruling as to this particular land parcel absent reconsideration by the district court or reversal on any appeal.  Consequently, the Chairman issued the NOV. The NOV was not accompanied by a closure order or an assessment of a civil fine. The NOV further states that the Chairman of the NIGC may modify the measures required to correct the alleged violation if the NIGC approves the Nation’s July 16, 2008 gaming ordinance amendments.  The Nation immediately appealed the NOV issuance and the administrative appeal is still pending before an independent administrative law judge. The NIGC requested a stay of the NOV appeal.

 

On October 21, 2008, the plaintiffs filed a motion seeking an order from the court that would require the Chairman of the NIGC to issue orders immediately halting gaming at the Seneca Buffalo Creek facility and holding the NIGC Chairman in contempt for not doing so sooner.

 

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On October 24, 2008, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a notice of appeal relating to the court’s July 8, 2008 ruling on whether gaming is permitted on Nation lands in Buffalo, in addition to the court’s August 26 orders (directing the NIGC to issue the NOV and denying the U.S. government’s motion to remand the case to the NIGC for an administrative decision on the basis of significant changes in controlling regulation).

 

On November 4, 2008, the Seneca Nation of Indians filed a motion for leave to file an amicus brief in response to the plaintiffs’ motion to enforce and motion to hold NIGC Chairman Hogen in contempt for failing to close the Buffalo Creek casino.  The United States also filed a response on that day.  On November 14, 2008, the plaintiffs’ filed a reply brief requesting additional time to respond to the Nation’s amicus brief if the court granted the Nation’s motion allowing it to submit an amicus brief.  On November 17, 2008, the court granted the Nation’s motion to file the amicus brief and to be heard at argument.  The court further ordered that the Nation formally file its amicus brief by November 20, 2008, which it did, and set a December 2, 2008 deadline for filing responses to the Nation’s brief.

 

On December 2, 2008, the plaintiffs filed their response to the Nation’s amicus brief.  The plaintiffs’ October 21, 2008 motion remains under advisement.

 

If the plaintiffs are successful, the Nation could be unable to conduct any Class III gaming upon lands acquired by the Nation pursuant to the SNLCSA, including the Buffalo Creek Territory.

 

Scott v. Pataki (NYS Supreme Court, Erie County, Index No. 001189/06)

 

On February 1, 2006, an action was filed in the New York Supreme Court, County of Erie, by various petitioners against George E. Pataki, in his official capacity as Governor of the State of New York; State Gaming Officials of the New York State Wagering Board; City of Buffalo; Common Council of the City of Buffalo; Anthony Masiello in his previous capacity as Mayor of Buffalo; Byron Brown in his capacity as Mayor of Buffalo; City of Buffalo Department of Public Works; Buffalo Sewer Authority; and Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.  The action initially sought declaratory and injunctive relief under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, or SEQRA; the First Parks, Recreation, Historic Preservation Law, or PRHPL; First City Environmental Review Ordination , or CERO; and Freedom of Information Law, or FOIL, and is principally directed at the decisions and actions of the defendants in connection with our Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino.  The plaintiffs initially claimed that the defendants had failed to comply with SEQRA, PRHPL, CERO and FOIL and requested that the court take numerous actions including directing compliance with SEQRA, PRHPL, CERO and FOIL and restraining further action relating to the development of our Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino.  In May 2006, the petitioners further sought to enjoin demolition activity on the nine acre casino site, but the court declined to grant a preliminary injunction preventing demolition.  In June 2006, the petitioners amended their Petition to drop their claims against Governor Pataki, the State Gaming Officials and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, and added the Buffalo Department of Economic Development, Permits and Inspections as a party. The amended Petition also dropped all claims except for the SEQRA and CERO claims. In October 2006, the plaintiffs moved for an injunction to prevent an agreement between SEGC and the City of Buffalo (relating to the development of the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino) from being executed and performed, which motion was denied based upon a failure to show a likelihood of success on the merits.  The plaintiffs appealed this ruling to the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division.  On March 16, 2007, the Appellate Division unanimously affirmed the denial of the injunction.

 

A hearing was held on the merits of the petition in September 2007.  On July 3, 2008, the Court dismissed the Petitioners’ claims holding: (1) that the Common Council of the City of Buffalo properly reviewed the environmental impact of the construction of the Buffalo Creek Casino, and fully complied with SEQR and CERO; (2) that the abandonment and sale of Fulton Street was properly approved by the Common Council of the City of Buffalo; (3) that the Nation is a necessary and indispensible party to the lawsuit; and (4) that Petitioner’s substantive claims are without merit.

 

Although Petitioners have indicated an intent to appeal the judge’s decision, no notice of appeal has been filed to date.

 

If the plaintiffs were successful, the Nation could be delayed in the completion of the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino and Hotel or could be unable to complete the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino and Hotel.  Certain of these petitioners are also plaintiffs in the federal lawsuits filed by Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County referenced above.

 

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Warren v. United States (1:06-c-00226-JTE (WDNY))

 

On or about April 6, 2006, an action was filed in the United States District Court, Western District of New York, by Daniel T. Warren, a pro se plaintiff, against the United States of America, the United States Department of the Interior, the National Indian Gaming Commission, and five individuals in their official capacities as Acting Secretary of the Interior, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs and Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission, as well as Governor George E. Pataki, as Governor of the State of New York, and Cheryl Ritchko-Buley, as Chairwoman of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.    The action initially sought declaratory and injunctive relief as to numerous matters including declaring that IGRA is unconstitutional, that the Compact violates IGRA, that the New York Constitution is not preempted by IGRA, that New York does not have the authority under state law to enter into a tribal state compact under IGRA, that certain actions of the defendants were not in accordance with law, and that certain lands purchased by the Nation were not subject to being taken into trust or restricted fee status under the SNLCSA or were not pursuant to settlement of a land claim within the meaning of IGRA; and enjoining the defendants from taking actions which would further casino gambling in the State of New York under IGRA or on any lands acquired by the Nation pursuant to SNLCSA. On August 16, 2006, the plaintiff amended his complaint bringing: a Tenth Amendment challenge to IGRA; a claim that the Compact violates IGRA by providing for gaming which is not otherwise lawful in New York; a claim that both the Compact and the statute authorizing the Governor of New York to enter into the Compact violate various provisions of the New York State Constitution; and a claim that the United States has failed to promulgate regulations for gaming on off-reservation territory, in violation of its statutory duties.  The effect of such amendment was to limit the claims remaining in the case, by dropping many of the federal law claims in the original complaint.

 

On December 1, 2006, the court heard argument on the plaintiff’s motion to join (1) Barry E. Snyder, Sr., as President of the Seneca Nation of Indians; (2) John Pasqualoni, as President and CEO of SGC; (3) the Nation; and/or (4) SGC, as additional defendants.

 

On October 5, 2007, the plaintiff filed a motion to further amend the complaint to include as defendants (1) Maurice John, as President of the Seneca Nation of Indians; (2) E. Brian Hansberry, as the new President and CEO of SGC (replacing John Pasqualoni); (3) the Nation; and (4) SGC.  On October 25, 2007, the Nation filed a response in opposition to that motion asserting that (1) the motion to amend the complaint was not properly before the court because it is premised upon a finding that the Nation is a necessary and indispensible party, and (2) the motion to amend is futile because the Nation and its officers are protected by sovereign immunity.  As of December 16, 2008, the court had not ruled on this motion.

 

Dispositive motions to dismiss on behalf of both the plaintiff and the defendants have not yet been heard by the court.  In addition, still pending before the court is the motion on behalf of the Seneca entities and officers in opposition to being joined as defendants to the lawsuit on, among other things, sovereign immunity grounds.  If the plaintiff is successful in this lawsuit, the Nation would be unable to conduct any Class III gaming upon lands acquired pursuant to SNLCSA.

 

The current review by the NIGC of the Nation’s use of gaming revenues could materially adversely affect our operations.

 

In December of 2006, the NIGC notified the Nation that it would be commencing a review of the Nation’s use of gaming revenues starting in January 2007.  The NIGC sent its inspection team on-site three times during February and March of 2007 to review Nation financial records for fiscal years 2005 and 2006.  On March 7, 2007, following a request by the Nation that the NIGC clarify the scope of documents its inspection team is reviewing, the NIGC issued a subpoena to obtain certain documents needed to complete their review.  On March 8, 2007, Nation and SGC staff met with the NIGC inspection team to obtain clarification on the scope of the review and the documents being sought.  The Nation has been cooperating with the NIGC inspection team and has made Nation and SGC staff available to answer questions that have arisen during the course of the inspection team’s review.  The NIGC’s review of the Nation’s use of net gaming revenues is ongoing.  The IGRA and NIGC’s implementing regulations do not provide a timeline within which the NIGC must complete its review.

 

Under IGRA, net revenues from tribal gaming operations may only be used for the following purposes: (i) to fund tribal government operations or programs; (ii) to provide for the general welfare of the Indian tribe and its members; (iii) to promote economic development; (iv) to donate to charitable organizations; or (v) to help fund operations of local government agencies. Under IGRA tribal member distributions of net gaming revenues may only be made pursuant to a revenue allocation plan approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior, or DOI. The Nation makes tribal member distributions from revenues it receives from our operating lease payments. If the NIGC or DOI determines that the

 

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tribal member distributions from the operating lease payments are distributions of net gaming revenues subject to IGRA’s requirements, it may attempt to take enforcement actions against the Nation.

 

IGRA provides for civil penalties for a violation of the provisions of IGRA or the regulations promulgated by the NIGC. Such civil enforcement actions include without limitation: notices of violation, issuance of temporary or permanent closure orders, and assessment of civil fines of up to $25,000 per violation. IGRA also provides for an opportunity for an appeal and hearing before the NIGC with respect to any civil penalty imposed. Judicial review also remains available. We cannot predict the outcome of the NIGC’s current review of the Nation’s use of net gaming revenues. If the NIGC determines that the Nation has violated IGRA and takes enforcement actions against the Nation, such actions may materially adversely affect our ability to conduct our gaming operations as currently conducted.

 

SNFGC may be subject to material liabilities arising out of the condemnation process through which it is acquiring lands in the 50-acre footprint in the City of Niagara Falls, New York.

 

In 2002 and pursuant to the Compact, the Nation acquired from the State of New York approximately 24 acres of land and related improvements in the City of Niagara Falls, New York, including the then-Niagara Falls Convention Center.  The State of New York further agreed in the Compact to assist the Nation in whatever manner appropriate, including through the exercise of its power of eminent domain, to acquire the remaining acreage within the approximate 50-acre footprint in the City of Niagara Falls, New York, designated by New York State under the Compact for ownership by the Nation. The Compact specifically excluded approximately 1.5 acres of land within the footprint owned by a Roman Catholic Church.  Additionally, in July 2006, the Nation agreed to waive its right to acquire approximately one half acre of additional land within the footprint owned by End Time Handmaidens, Inc., a religious organization.  In return for the waiver, the Nation obtained a right of first negotiation and refusal with respect to the future sale of such land.  As a result of the carve-out relating to the land owned by the Roman Catholic Church, and the Nation’s agreement with End Time Handmaidens, the total acreage of the Niagara Territory upon completion of the condemnation process is anticipated to be approximately 48 acres.

 

We have obtained possession of, either through eminent domain proceedings or private purchase, substantially all of the remaining acreage within the footprint, other than certain streets owned by the City of Niagara Falls providing access to the above church parcels, and a bike path owned by the New York State Department of Transportation. We expect to acquire these remaining parcels in 2009.

 

With the exception of approximately two acres of land and a hotel property within the footprint together acquired for $7.9 million through a private sale in December 2005, substantially all of our post-2002 real property acquisitions in Niagara Falls, NY have been pursuant to New York State Eminent Domain Procedure Law, or EDPL, using the State’s power of eminent domain (through the Empire State Development Corporation, or ESDC).  The amounts paid to condemnees from whom the ESDC has acquired property are deemed to be advance payments, in that property owners are entitled to reserve their rights to challenge the land and improvement values determined by the condemnor’s appraisers.  The ESDC has made advanced payments under the EDPL of approximately $31.5 million for the condemned parcels within the footprint including, in particular, approximately 18 acres of land and related fixtures (a former water park) for an aggregate advanced payment of $18.0 million, and another hotel property for an aggregate advanced payment of $8.2 million.

 

Pursuant to the EDPL, New York state courts will determine the final purchase price to be paid to condemnees who elect to challenge the initial appraised value of their property.  To date, all record owners from whom property was acquired pursuant to the EDPL have reserved rights to claim additional compensation.  Four record owners have filed notices of claim to challenge the fair market value appraisals utilized by ESDC.   Fallsite LLC and Fallsville Splash, LLC have filed notices of claim in the amounts of $40.0 and $35.0 million for land and trade fixtures, respectively, relating to the former water park (referenced above) within the footprint.  ESDC’s fair market appraisal for the foregoing was approximately $17.0 million.  Intertrust Development has filed a notice of claim for $15.8 million for land and trade fixtures associated with a former Holiday Inn hotel within the footprint. ESDC’s fair market appraisal for the foregoing (excluding fixtures) was $8.2 million.  Additionally, JFD Holdings has filed a notice of claim for an unspecified amount for land and trade fixtures associated with a former Pizza Hut restaurant within the footprint.  ESDC’s fair market appraisal for the foregoing was approximately $0.4 million.   Valuation proceedings with regard to the former water park are ongoing with expected completion in early 2009.  We are finalizing a settlement regarding the former Holiday Inn property which has been approved by the SGC board of directors, but remains subject to approval of the Nation’s Council.

 

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If a court determines that the value for the land and improvements is higher than the appraised value we paid to a condemnee, then we may be liable to the condemnee for the difference and potentially also responsible for certain additional costs and payments to the condemnee, such as attorneys’ fees.  As of September 30, 2008, we have established a reserve in the amount of $6.4 million for such matters, which is included as a component of other current liabilities on SGC’s consolidated balance sheet.

 

Terrorism and war may directly or indirectly harm our business.

 

The strength and profitability of our business will depend on consumer demand for casino resorts in general and for the type of amenities Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel offer. Changes in consumer preferences or discretionary consumer spending could harm our business. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and ongoing terrorist and war activities in the United States and elsewhere, have had a negative impact on travel and leisure expenditures, including lodging, gaming and tourism. We cannot predict the extent to which terrorist activities may continue to affect us, directly or indirectly, in the future. An extended period of reduced discretionary spending and/or disruptions or declines in travel, conferences and conventions could significantly harm our operations.

 

We may be subject to material environmental liability as a result of unknown environmental hazards.

 

Under various federal, state and local environmental laws, ordinances and regulations, a current or previous owner or operator of real estate may be required to investigate and clean up hazardous or toxic substances or chemical releases on or relating to its property and may be held liable to a governmental entity or to third parties for property damage, personal injury and for investigation and cleanup costs incurred by such parties in connection with the contamination. Such laws typically impose cleanup responsibility and liability without regard to whether the owner knew of or caused the presence of contaminants. The costs of investigation, remediation or removal of such substances may be substantial. Although neither we or the Nation has waived our or its sovereign immunity with regard to such federal, state and local environmental legislation, the existence or discovery of an environmental hazard on any of its lands could result in an assertion of liability under federal environmental laws and have a significant adverse effect on the Nation’s relations with the state and the local community.

 

We rely in part on federal and in part on common law trade name protection to protect certain of our trademarks.

 

We rely in part on federal and in part on common law trade name protection to protect certain of our trademarks. We may face claims by third parties for alleged trade name infringement. Any resulting claims, if successful, could require us to cease using one or more of the names used in our business or require us to pay to use these names.

 

The entity that managed construction at our luxury hotel expansion project in Niagara Falls, New York, our resort hotel, casino and event center expansion projects in Allegany, and our temporary facility in Buffalo, New York,is an entity with limited operating experience and limited experience in construction management.

 

Seneca Construction Management Corporation, or SCMC, is an entity formed and wholly owned by the Nation and organized for the purpose of managing construction projects. We initially entered into construction management agreements with SCMC in connection with each of the Seneca Allegany Casino resort hotel, casino and event center expansion projects and the Seneca Niagara Casino luxury hotel expansion project.  SCMC is expected to continue to manage construction of both our additional $130 million hotel tower in Allegany and the $333 million permanent Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino and Hotel project if, and when, such construction activities resume.  SCMC as a company has very limited experience in overseeing and managing construction projects.  SCMC may not be able to identify or anticipate all material risks related to managing our construction projects, which could adversely affect our ability to develop and construct these projects timely and successfully as well as our business and results of operations.

 

Any adverse changes in the laws regulating our gaming operations or our failure to maintain licenses required under gaming laws and regulations and other permits and approvals required under applicable laws and regulations could have a material adverse effect on our ability to conduct gaming operations and to fulfill our financial obligations, including the senior notes.

 

Gaming on the Nation’s land is regulated by Nation laws, the Compact and federal statutes, most notably the IGRA. Several bills have been proposed during the recent sessions of Congress that could affect Indian gaming. Notably, though its proposed legislation has yet to be presented to Congress, the Policies and Procedures Subproject of the Bureau of Indian

 

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Affairs has proposed sweeping changes to the federal laws concerning Indians. Certain of such bills, if enacted, could impair the ability of the Nation and SGC to expand its gaming operations and adversely impact the future growth of the Nation’s revenue base. In addition, from time to time, various government officials have proposed taxing Indian casino gaming or otherwise limiting or restricting the conduct of gaming operations by Indian tribes. No assurance can be given that such legislation, if and when enacted by Congress, would not have a material adverse effect on our operations. In addition, under federal law, gaming on the Nation’s lands may be dependent upon the continued permissibility under New York law of certain forms of gaming or similar activities. If New York State were to make various forms of gaming illegal or against public policy (or the courts were to similarly rule), or otherwise to take a legal position adverse to the Compact or any of its provisions, such actions could affect the ability of the Nation to conduct those forms of gaming under the Compact, which could have a material adverse effect on our ability to conduct our gaming operations as currently conducted. Moreover, the 1996 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida may permit a state to avoid or refuse to negotiate amendments to existing compacts such as the Compact.

 

The operation of all gaming on Indian lands is subject to IGRA. For the past several years, legislation has been introduced in Congress designed to amend this Act. Most of the proposals that have been seriously considered would be prospective in effect and have contained clauses that would grandfather existing Indian gaming operations such as Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel, Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino. However, certain legislative acts have also proposed repealing many of the provisions of IGRA. We cannot predict the success of future legislative acts. Changes in applicable laws and regulations or an increase in the cost of compliance with applicable laws and regulations could limit or materially affect the types of gaming that we may offer and the revenue our operations generate. Furthermore, if Congress enacted legislation that was applied retroactively, our ability to meet our outstanding debt and other financial obligations and commitments could be adversely affected.

 

Under the Compact and federal, state and Nation law, we are required to maintain certain licenses, permits and approvals in order to conduct gaming operations. Failure to maintain such licenses, permits and approvals could have a material adverse affect on our ability to conduct gaming operations and to fulfill our financial obligations, including the senior notes.

 

We are governmentally owned and will not necessarily be operated in the same way as if we were a privately owned for-profit business, which may materially adversely affect our ability to meet our financial obligations and commitments.

 

As a sovereign government, the Nation is governed by elected officials who have responsibility for the welfare of all Nation members. The Nation’s elected officials appoint the SGC board of directors and retain certain approval authority over certain actions by the SGC board of directors. In making decisions relative to appointment of SGC’s board of directors and certain other aspects of SGC’s gaming business, these officials may consider the interests of their electorate, instead of pure economic or other business factors. Therefore, SGC’s gaming business will not be necessarily operated in the same manner as a private for-profit business, and we cannot assure you that this fact will not materially adversely affect our operations or our ability to meet our financial obligations and commitments, including the senior notes.

 

Changes in the membership of the Council, its policies or the Nation’s constitution could adversely affect our operations.

 

The Nation is governed by a Council, consisting of sixteen members, of which eight members are elected from each of the two principal Nation territories. Councillors are elected to four-year terms, which are staggered. The Nation holds an election every two years for its three executive branch officers: the President, the Treasurer and the Clerk. These officers alternate between the two principal Nation territories, thus ensuring that the occupants of those offices will change at each election. The most recent election of the executive branch officers and eight Council members took place on November 4, 2008. We cannot assure that the current Council, or any subsequently elected Council, will pursue the same agenda or goals as the prior government, in particular with respect to us, our expansion projects, reinvestment philosophy, or regarding compliance with the Compact or our contractual obligations, such as the covenants contained in the senior notes indenture. In addition, the Council acts by majority vote and with respect to any issue or policy, a change in views by one or more members could result in a change in the policy adopted by the Council. Changes in the Council or its policies could result in significant changes in our structure or operations or in any planned expansion. In particular, the Council appoints the members of SGC’s board of directors and may remove a member of SGC’s board of directors for cause either upon the recommendation of a majority of SGC’s board of directors, or upon its own initiative with a vote of at least ten Councillors. The term cause has not been defined in SGC’s charter or in Nation law; therefore, it is uncertain how this term will be interpreted. As a result, a change in the membership of Council or in the views of existing members of Council, adverse to the existing board or management could result in a

 

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change in SGC’s board of directors and potentially in SGC’s management. Any such changes could adversely affect our business plan or otherwise result in a material adverse effect in our business, financial condition, results of operations or ability to meet our financial obligations and commitments, including the senior notes.

 

Further, while we believe that under the Nation’s constitution, adopted in 1848 and last amended in 1993, a referendum may only be called by the Council, our interpretation of the Nation’s constitution could be incorrect or the constitution may be amended in the future to provide that the Seneca people may call a referendum without the approval of the Council. If the constitution were amended to allow the Seneca people to call for a referendum directly, the Nation may, through the referendum process, adopt laws adversely affecting our business and results of operations.

 

Item 1B.  Unresolved Staff Comments

 

Not applicable

 

Item 2.   Properties

 

Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel.    Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel is located on Nation Territory in Niagara Falls, New York. Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel is located approximately 20 miles north of Buffalo, New York and approximately 90 miles west of Rochester, New York.

 

Pursuant to the Compact, the Nation may acquire property and establish gaming facilities in the City of Niagara Falls within the boundaries of the approximately 50 acre area of land described in Appendix I of the Compact and designated as land to be developed by the Nation in connection with the Nation’s gaming facilities. The Compact also authorizes the Nation to establish a gaming facility in Erie County and one on the Nation’s Allegany Territory. The Compact authorizes the Nation to use funds appropriated under the SNLCSA to acquire parcels of land in Niagara Falls and Erie County for gaming purposes.

 

SNFGC has acquired approximately 45 of the 50 acres of the land in the City of Niagara Falls, New York, designated by New York State under the Compact for ownership by the Nation, thus reducing the remaining acreage to be acquired to approximately 3 acres (Approximately 1.5 acres of land owned by a Roman Catholic Church are carved-out from acquisition under the Compact, and SNFGC has waived its right to acquire approximately one half acre of land designated in the Compact for ownership by the Nation, in return for a right of first refusal to purchase such property if this parcel is offered for sale in the future by its owner).  See “Item 1A. - Risk Factors— SNFGC may be subject to material liabilities arising out of the condemnation process through which it is acquiring lands in the 50-acre footprint in the City of Niagara Falls, New York” for further discussion of the Niagara Falls condemnation proceedings.

 

The Nation has acquired from SNFGC approximately 24 acres (of the approximate 50 acres described in Appendix I of the Compact) with funds appropriated under the SNLCSA in Niagara Falls. By operation of federal law, these lands and other parcels that may be acquired in the future pursuant to the SNLCSA (whether in Niagara Falls or Erie County) are subject to restrictions against alienation, constitute Indian country subject to the jurisdiction of the Nation, and qualify as gaming eligible Indian lands pursuant to IGRA. See “Item 3. Legal Proceedings” for a discussion of litigation challenging, among other matters, the status of such lands as eligible for gaming under IGRA. Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and its 2,300 space parking garage are situated on the Nation’s restricted fee lands.

 

In March 2006, we acquired 257 acres of land with the intent to design and build a championship level golf course in Lewiston, New York, approximately 8 miles from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel.  We have selected the Robert Trent Jones II firm to design the golf course.  The project is being developed by LGCC as an amenity to the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel.

 

For further information relating to the real estate acquisitions of the Nation, SGC and its subsidiaries, see “Item 1. — Business — Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel — Niagara Falls Real Estate Acquisitions”, above.

 

Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel.    Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel is located on the Nation’s Allegany Territory in the City of Salamanca, New York. STGC leases the land on which Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel is located from the Nation. Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel is located immediately off Interstate 86, approximately 70 miles south of Niagara Falls, New York and is within 75 miles of Erie, Pennsylvania, and 165 miles of Cleveland and Akron, Ohio and Pittsburgh,

 

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Pennsylvania. The Nation’s land upon which Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel is situated is within the Nation’s territorial boundaries, and is therefore eligible for gaming pursuant to IGRA.

 

Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino.    The temporary Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino is located on approximately nine acres of land in the inner harbor district of Buffalo, New York, which constitute the Nation’s Buffalo Creek Territory.  SEGC leases the land on which the temporary Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino is located from the Nation.  The land on which the temporary casino is located was acquired by the Nation using funds appropriated under the SNLCSA.

 

Item 3.  Legal Proceedings

 

Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County v. Kempthorne (1:06-cv-00001-WMS (WDNY)) (formerly Citizens Against Casino Gambling v. Norton) — CACGEC I

 

In January 2006, an action was filed in the United States District Court, Western District of New York by various plaintiffs against the United States Department of Interior, the National Indian Gaming Commission and three individuals in their official capacities as Secretary of the Interior, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs and Chairman of the NIGC.  The action seeks declaratory and injunctive relief under the Administrative Procedure Act, the Declaratory Judgments Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, or NHPA, the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, and the Indian Regulatory Gaming Act and is principally directed at the decisions and actions of the defendants that permit the construction and operation of our Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino.  The plaintiffs claim that the defendants have failed to comply with NEPA, NHPA, and IGRA and have requested that the court take numerous actions including declaring that the two parcels consisting of approximately nine acres in Buffalo, New York, or the Buffalo Parcels, acquired by the Nation pursuant to SNLCSA are not Indian lands within the meaning of IGRA and declaring that the Nation’s Compact violates IGRA. On November 1, 2006, oral argument was heard on the defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, on the Nation’s amicus motion to dismiss based upon failure to join the Nation as a necessary party and sovereign immunity, and on the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment.

 

On January 12, 2007, the district court vacated the NIGC’s approval of the Nation’s 2002 gaming ordinance as it pertains to gaming conducted on the Buffalo Parcel and remanded the decision to the NIGC to determine whether the Buffalo Parcels constitute “Indian Lands” under IGRA.  The court also granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, denied the Nation’s motion to dismiss (holding, in part, that the Nation was not a necessary party because the U.S. government’s interests were aligned with those of the Nation and that the U.S. government (through the U.S. Department of Justice) was vigorously defending the case), and denied, as moot, the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment.  In reaching its decision to dismiss on the basis of a lack of subject matter jurisdiction, the court determined that, notwithstanding the U.S. Department of Interior’s prior determination that the Nation’s Buffalo Creek Territory constitutes “Indian Lands” within the meaning of the IGRA, the NIGC must make its own “Indian Lands” determination, and ordered that the Nation’s 2002 gaming ordinance (which had been approved by the NIGC) be vacated insofar as it permits Class III gaming on the Nation’s Buffalo Creek Territory. The court specifically limited its holding to the Nation’s Buffalo Creek Territory. After the court denied the government’s motion for reconsideration, both the plaintiffs and the defendants appealed.  On January 29, 2007, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion for reconsideration, which was denied by the court on April 20, 2007, noting that the government asserted no new arguments.

 

On June 9, 2007, the Nation enacted and submitted to the NIGC an amended gaming site-specific Class III gaming ordinance.  The amended ordinance was identical to the prior approved ordinance, except the new Ordinance’s definition of “Nation Lands” now contains a site-specific legal description of the Buffalo Parcels.  The definition also states that the land specified is held by the Nation in restricted fee pursuant to the SNLCSA.  On June 19, 2007, the defendants and plaintiffs filed notices of appeal.  On June 25, 2007, the plaintiffs filed a motion for a stay of the proceedings remanded to the NIGC pending the outcome of the appeal.  The NIGC approved the new ordinance on July 2, 2007.  On July 3, 2007, the defendants filed a notice of NIGC approval of the ordinance revising the definition of “Nation Lands”.  On August, 6, 2007, the defendants filed a response to the plaintiffs’ motion to stay, stating that the gaming ordinance at issue in this case is superseded by the Nation’s June 9, 2007, site-specific ordinance, approved by the NIGC on July 2, 2007.  This, the U.S. argues, moots the case as to the NIGC and moots the motion for a stay pending appeal.

 

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The U.S. Department of Justice has discontinued its appeal of the January 12, 2007 order in the initial CACGEC federal suit.  On November 9, 2007, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the plaintiffs’ appeal pending the resolution of the second federal court action described below (Citizens Against Casino Gambling v. Hogen (1:07-cv-00451-WMS (WDNY)).

 

Although the court permitted the Nation to file a brief as amicus curiae, the Nation is not a party to this action, and as such, neither it nor SGC has the ability to direct or control any aspect of the litigation.

 

If the plaintiffs are successful, the Nation could be unable to conduct any gaming upon lands acquired by the Nation pursuant to the SNLCSA.

 

Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County v. Hogen (1:07-cv-00451-WMS (WDNY)) — CACGEC II

 

On July 12, 2007, Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County  (CACGEC) filed a second action in the United States District Court, Western District of New York against the United States Department of Interior, the NIGC and two individuals in their official capacities as Secretary of the Interior and Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission, respectively.  The action seeks declaratory and injunctive relief under the Administrative Procedure Act, the Declaratory Judgments Act, and the Indian Regulatory Gaming Act and is principally directed at the decisions and actions of the defendants in approving the Nation’s class III gaming ordinance, and the Indian land opinion issued by the Chairman relative to that approval.  The plaintiffs claim that the defendants have failed to comply with federal law and have requested that the Court take numerous actions including declaring that the lands acquired by the Nation pursuant to SNLCSA are not Indian lands within the meaning of IGRA.

 

Plaintiffs moved for summary judgment and defendants moved to dismiss.  Neither the Nation nor SGC is party to this action.  The Nation filed an amicus brief on the “Indian lands” issues.

 

On July 8, 2008, the court issued its decision and order finding (a) that the NIGC’s determination that the Nation’s Buffalo Creek Territory is “Indian country” was in accord with Congress’ intent in enacting the SNLCSA, and (b) that the NIGC’s July 2, 2007 determination that the Nation’s Buffalo Creek Territory is gaming-eligible land pursuant to the IGRA’s settlement of a land claim exception is arbitrary, capricious, and not in accordance with the law.

 

The court’s decision did not provide for injunctive relief, and SGC has continued its operations at the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino.  Plaintiffs subsequently filed a motion on July 14, 2008 to force the court to enforce its judgment.

 

In response to ongoing events in the litigation, on July 16, 2008, the Nation submitted a new gaming ordinance to the NIGC, so that the NIGC could consider the applicability of new Department of Interior regulations concluding that lands like Buffalo Creek Territory are exempt from Section 20 of IGRA’s prohibition on gaming.

 

On July 22, 2008, the United States filed a motion responding to the plaintiffs motion to enforce and requesting that the case be remanded to the NIGC for further consideration. The remand motion is based upon significant changes in the controlling law, as interpreted by the U.S. Department of Interior.  The Seneca Nation of Indians simultaneously filed an amicus brief supporting the United States’ motion for remand to the NIGC and opposing the plaintiffs’ motion to enforce.  On August 26, 2008, the court issued its decision on the foregoing motions and granted the plaintiffs’ request that the court enforce its July 8, 2008 decision and order to the extent that the NIGC and its Chairman are directed to carry out their enforcement duties under IGRA. The plaintiffs’ motion was denied to the extent that they requested an order that would divest the NIGC of its discretion to determine the type of enforcement action to take.

 

On September 3, 2008, the Chairman of the NIGC issued a “notice of violation” or “NOV” to the Nation as a result of the August 26, 2008 decision. The NOV asserts that the Nation has violated IGRA by operating the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino without an approved Class III gaming ordinance for that facility because the gaming ordinance for those lands authorized gaming on lands in Buffalo that the district court deemed ineligible for gaming.  The NOV further states that although the NIGC disagrees with the district court’s interpretation of IGRA regarding the Buffalo Creek parcel’s eligibility for gaming under IGRA, the NIGC, at the current time, was bound by the district court’s ruling as to this particular land parcel absent reconsideration by the district court or reversal on any appeal.  Consequently, the Chairman issued the NOV. The NOV was not accompanied by a closure order or an assessment of a civil fine. The NOV further states that the Chairman of the NIGC may modify the measures required to correct the alleged violation if the NIGC approves the Nation’s July 16, 2008 gaming

 

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ordinance amendments.  The Nation immediately appealed the NOV issuance and the administrative appeal is still pending before an independent administrative law judge. The NIGC requested a stay of the NOV appeal.

 

On October 21, 2008, the plaintiffs filed a motion seeking an order from the court that would require the Chairman of the NIGC to issue orders immediately halting gaming at the Seneca Buffalo Creek facility and holding the NIGC Chairman in contempt for not doing so sooner.

 

On October 24, 2008, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a notice of appeal relating to the court’s July 8, 2008 ruling on whether gaming is permitted on Nation lands in Buffalo, in addition to the court’s August 26 orders (directing the NIGC to issue the NOV and denying the U.S. government’s motion to remand the case to the NIGC for an administrative decision on the basis of significant changes in controlling regulation).

 

On November 4, 2008, the Seneca Nation of Indians filed a motion for leave to file an amicus brief in response to the plaintiffs’ motion to enforce and motion to hold NIGC Chairman Hogen in contempt for failing to close the Buffalo Creek casino.  The United States also filed a response on that day.  On November 14, 2008, the plaintiffs’ filed a reply brief requesting additional time to respond to the Nation’s amicus brief if the court granted the Nation’s motion allowing it to submit an amicus brief.  On November 17, 2008, the court granted the Nation’s motion to file the amicus brief and to be heard at argument.  The court further ordered that the Nation formally file its amicus brief by November 20, 2008, which it did, and set a December 2, 2008 deadline for filing responses to the Nation’s brief.

 

On December 2, 2008, the plaintiffs filed their response to the Nation’s amicus brief.  The plaintiffs’ October 21, 2008 motion remains under advisement.

 

If the plaintiffs are successful, the Nation could be unable to conduct any Class III gaming upon lands acquired by the Nation pursuant to the SNLCSA, including the Buffalo Creek Territory.

 

Scott v. Pataki (NYS Supreme Court, Erie County, Index No. 001189/06)

 

On February 1, 2006, an action was filed in the New York Supreme Court, County of Erie, by various petitioners against George E. Pataki, in his official capacity as Governor of the State of New York; State Gaming Officials of the New York State Wagering Board; City of Buffalo; Common Council of the City of Buffalo; Anthony Masiello in his previous capacity as Mayor of Buffalo; Byron Brown in his capacity as Mayor of Buffalo; City of Buffalo Department of Public Works; Buffalo Sewer Authority; and Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.  The action initially sought declaratory and injunctive relief under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, or SEQRA; the First Parks, Recreation, Historic Preservation Law, or PRHPL; First City Environmental Review Ordination, or CERO; and Freedom of Information Law,or FOIL, and is principally directed at the decisions and actions of the defendants in connection with our Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino.  The plaintiffs initially claimed that the defendants had failed to comply with SEQRA, PRHPL, CERO and FOIL and requested that the court take numerous actions including directing compliance with SEQRA, PRHPL, CERO and FOIL and restraining further action relating to the development of our Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino.  In May 2006, the petitioners further sought to enjoin demolition activity on the nine acre casino site, but the court declined to grant a preliminary injunction preventing demolition.  In June 2006, the petitioners amended their Petition to drop their claims against Governor Pataki, the State Gaming Officials and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, and added the Buffalo Department of Economic Development, Permits and Inspections as a party. The amended Petition also dropped all claims except for the SEQRA and CERO claims. In October 2006, the plaintiffs moved for an injunction to prevent an agreement between SEGC and the City of Buffalo (relating to the development of the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino) from being executed and performed, which motion was denied based upon a failure to show a likelihood of success on the merits.  The plaintiffs appealed this ruling to the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division.  On March 16, 2007, the Appellate Division unanimously affirmed the denial of the injunction.

 

A hearing was held on the merits of the petition in September 2007.  On July 3, 2008, the court dismissed the Petitioners’ claims holding: (1) that the Common Council of the City of Buffalo properly reviewed the environmental impact of the construction of the Buffalo Creek Casino, and fully complied with SEQR and CERO; (2) that the abandonment and sale of Fulton Street was properly approved by the Common Council of the City of Buffalo; (3) that the Seneca Nation of Indians is a necessary and indispensible party to the lawsuit; and (4) that Petitioner’s substantive claims are without merit.

 

Although Petitioners have indicated an intent to appeal the judge’s decision, no notice of appeal has been filed to date.

 

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If the plaintiffs were successful, the Nation could be delayed in the completion of the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino and Hotel or could be unable to complete the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino and Hotel.  Certain of these petitioners are also plaintiffs in the federal lawsuits filed by Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County referenced above.

 

Warren v. United States (1:06-c-00226-JTE (WDNY))

 

On or about April 6, 2006, an action was filed in the United States District Court, Western District of New York, by Daniel T. Warren, a pro se plaintiff, against the United States of America, the United States Department of the Interior, the National Indian Gaming Commission, and five individuals in their official capacities as Acting Secretary of the Interior, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs and Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission, as well as Governor George E. Pataki, as Governor of the State of New York, and Cheryl Ritchko-Buley, as Chairwoman of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.    The action initially sought declaratory and injunctive relief as to numerous matters including declaring that IGRA is unconstitutional, that the Compact violates IGRA, that the New York Constitution is not preempted by IGRA, that New York does not have the authority under state law to enter into a tribal state compact under IGRA, that certain actions of the defendants were not in accordance with law, and that certain lands purchased by the Nation were not subject to being taken into trust or restricted fee status under the SNLCSA or were not pursuant to settlement of a land claim within the meaning of IGRA; and enjoining the defendants from taking actions which would further casino gambling in the State of New York under IGRA or on any lands acquired by the Nation pursuant to SNLCSA. On August 16, 2006, the plaintiff amended his complaint bringing: a Tenth Amendment challenge to IGRA; a claim that the Compact violates IGRA by providing for gaming which is not otherwise lawful in New York; a claim that both the Compact and the statute authorizing the Governor of New York to enter into the Compact violate various provisions of the New York State Constitution; and a claim that the United States has failed to promulgate regulations for gaming on off-reservation territory, in violation of its statutory duties.  The effect of such amendment was to limit the claims remaining in the case, by dropping many of the federal law claims in the original complaint.

 

On December 1, 2006, the court heard argument on the plaintiff’s motion to join (1) Barry E. Snyder, Sr., as President of the Nation; (2) John Pasqualoni, as President and CEO of SGC; (3) the Nation; and/or (4) SGC, as additional defendants.

 

On October 5, 2007, the plaintiff filed a motion to further amend the complaint to include as defendants (1) Maurice John, as President of Nation; (2) E. Brian Hansberry, as the new President and CEO of SGC (replacing John Pasqualoni); (3) the  Nation; and (4) SGC.  On October 25, 2007, the Nation filed a response in opposition to that motion asserting that (1) the motion to amend the complaint was not properly before the court because it is premised upon a finding that the Nation is a necessary and indispensible party, and (2) the motion to amend is futile because the Nation and its officers are protected by sovereign immunity.  As of December 16, 2008, the court had not ruled on this motion.

 

Dispositive motions to dismiss on behalf of both the plaintiff and the defendants have not yet been heard by the court.  In addition, still pending before the court is the motion on behalf of the Seneca entities and officers in opposition to being joined as defendants to the lawsuit on, among other things, sovereign immunity grounds.  If the plaintiff is successful in this lawsuit, the Nation would be unable to conduct any Class III gaming upon lands acquired pursuant to SNLCSA.

 

County of Erie v. City of Buffalo (NYS Supreme Court, Index No. 2006-10440).

 

On November 6, 2006, a suit was brought in New York Supreme Court, County of Erie, by the County of Erie, New York, Joel Giambra (as County Executive), and Andrew Eszak (as Commissioner of the County of Erie Department of Environment and Planning), against the City of Buffalo, Mayor Byron Brown and the Buffalo Common Council seeking to invalidate the agreement pursuant to which SEGC acquired the two block section of Fulton Street (bisecting the Buffalo Creek Territory) on the basis that the City failed to refer the agreement to the County under Section 239-m of the New York State General Municipal Law.

 

Upon taking office on January 1, 2008, the newly elected Erie County Executive withdrew the County of Erie from the suit, and the action was dismissed on January 4, 2008.

 

In the matter of the Petition of New York State Urban Development Corporation d/b/a Empire State Development Corporation (NYS Supreme Court, Niagara County)

 

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Valuation Proceedings Pursuant to New York Eminent Domain Procedure Law

 

In 2002 and pursuant to the Compact, the Nation acquired from the State of New York approximately 24 acres of land and related improvements in the City of Niagara Falls, New York, including the then-Niagara Falls Convention Center.  The State of New York further agreed in the Compact to assist the Nation in whatever manner appropriate, including through the exercise of its power of eminent domain, to acquire the remaining acreage within the approximate 50-acre footprint in the City of Niagara Falls, New York, designated by New York State under the Compact for ownership by the Nation. The Compact specifically excluded approximately 1.5 acres of land within the footprint owned by a Roman Catholic Church.  Additionally, in July 2006, the Nation agreed to waive its right to acquire approximately one half acre of additional land within the footprint owned by End Time Handmaidens, Inc., a religious organization.  In return for the waiver, the Nation obtained a right of first negotiation and refusal with respect to the future sale of such land.  As a result of the carve-out relating to the acreage owned by the Roman Catholic Church, and the Nation’s agreement with End Time Handmaidens, the total acreage of the Niagara Territory upon completion of the condemnation process is anticipated to be approximately 48 acres.

 

We have obtained possession of, either through eminent domain proceedings or private purchase, substantially all of the remaining acreage within the footprint, other than certain streets owned by the City of Niagara Falls providing access to the above church acreage, and a bike path owned by the New York State Department of Transportation. We expect to acquire these remaining parcels in 2009.

 

With the exception of approximately 2 acres of land and a hotel property within the footprint together acquired for $7.9 million through a private sale in December 2005, substantially all of our post-2002 real property acquisitions in Niagara Falls, NY have been pursuant to New York State Eminent Domain Procedure Law, or EDPL, using the State’s power of eminent domain (through the Empire State Development Corporation,ESDC.  The amounts paid to condemnees from whom the ESDC has acquired property are deemed to be advance payments, in that property owners are entitled to reserve their rights to challenge the land and improvement values determined by the condemnor’s appraisers.  The ESDC has made advanced payments under the EDPL of approximately $31.5 million for the condemned parcels within the footprint including, in particular, approximately 18 acres of land and related fixtures (a former water park) for an aggregate advanced payment of $18.0 million, and another hotel property for an aggregate advanced payment of $8.2 million (excluding fixtures).    See “Item 7.  Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial condition and Results of Operations—Principal Debt Arrangements” for information regarding a letter of credit established as initial security for the Nation’s obligations to pay site acquisition costs and in furtherance of the ongoing condemnation proceedings.

 

Pursuant to the EDPL, New York state courts will determine the final purchase price to be paid to condemnees who elect to challenge the initial appraised value of their property.  To date, all record owners from whom property was acquired pursuant to the EDPL have reserved rights to claim additional compensation.  Four record owners have filed notices of claim to challenge the fair market value appraisals utilized by ESDC.   On July 26, 2006, Fallsite LLC and Fallsville Splash, LLC have filed notices of claim (Index Nos. 126578/06 and 126578/06) in the amounts of $40.0 and $35.0 million for land and trade fixtures, respectively, relating to a small former water park within the footprint.  ESDC’s fair market appraisal value for the foregoing was approximately $17.0 million.  On August 24, 2007, Intertrust Development has filed a notice of claim for $15.8 million (Index No. 127113/06) for land and trade fixtures associated with a former Holiday Inn hotel within the footprint. ESDC’s fair market appraisal value for the foregoing was $8.2 million.  Valuation proceedings with regard to the former water park and Holiday Inn properties are underway with expected completion in early 2009.  Additionally, on March 28, 2007, JFD Holdings had filed a notice of claim (Index No. 127113/06) for an unspecified amount for land and trade fixtures associated with a former Pizza Hut retaurant within the footprint.  ESDC’s fair market appraisal for the foregoing was approximately $0.4 million.   Valuation proceedings with regard to the former water park are underway with expected completion in early 2009.  We are finalizing a settlement with regard to the former Holiday Inn property, which has been approved by the SGC board of directors, but remains subject to Nation Council approval.

 

If a court determines that the value for the land and improvements is higher than the appraised value we paid to a condemnee, then we may be liable to the condemnee for the difference and potentially also responsible for certain additional costs and payments to the condemnee, such as attorneys’ fees.  As of September 30, 2008, we have established a reserve in the amount of $6.4 million for such matters, which is included as a component of other current liabilities on SGC’s consolidated balance sheet.

 

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Item 4.  Submission of Matters to a Vote of Security Holders

 

Not Applicable.

 

PART II

 

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

Not Applicable.

 

Item 6. Selected Financial Data

 

The selected consolidated financial data set forth below are derived from the audited financial statements and related notes included in this Annual Report.  For a more detailed discussion on Fiscal 2006 through 2008 refer to Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,”and our audited financial statements and related notes beginning on page F-1.

 

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Fiscal Years Ended

 

 

 

 

 

September 30,

 

 

 

2008

 

2007

 

2006

 

2005

 

2004

 

 

 

(Dollars in Thousands)

 

Statement of Operations Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenues:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gaming

 

$

632,580

 

$

595,826

 

$

519,620

 

$

440,156

 

$

337,536

 

Food and beverage

 

63,272

 

56,608

 

50,141

 

41,689

 

31,358

 

Lodging

 

28,757

 

24,352

 

10,654

 

 

 

Retail, entertainment and other

 

25,032

 

20,190

 

19,940

 

16,955

 

11,797

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gross revenues

 

749,641

 

696,976

 

600,355

 

498,800

 

380,691

 

Less: Promotional allowances

 

(117,553

)

(104,012

)

(77,861

)

(49,647

)

(24,295

)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net revenues

 

632,088

 

592,964

 

522,494

 

449,153

 

356,396

 

Expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gaming

 

169,472

 

153,259

 

129,396

 

114,746

 

92,531

 

Food and beverage

 

49,907

 

47,863

 

43,485

 

34,877

 

26,387

 

Lodging

 

15,038

 

11,862

 

6,131

 

 

 

Retail, entertainment and other

 

15,105

 

12,886

 

11,668

 

10,418

 

7,184

 

Advertising, general and administrative

 

187,011

 

153,838

 

131,997

 

117,188

 

91,552

 

Pre-opening costs

 

286

 

15,426

 

9,478

 

1,509

 

4,228

 

Depreciation

 

51,081

 

49,597

 

38,992

 

26,295

 

17,638

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total operating expenses

 

487,900

 

444,731

 

371,147

 

305,033

 

239,520

 

Operating income

 

144,188

 

148,233

 

151,347

 

144,120

 

116,876

 

Other income and (expense):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other non-operating income and (expense), net

 

(5,600

)

3,220

 

(558

)

(13,301

)

 

Interest income

 

1,344

 

3,886

 

5,814

 

5,116

 

1,535

 

Interest expense

 

(37,325

)

(36,063

)

(33,198

)

(90,366

)

(33,702

)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net non-operating expense

 

(41,581

)

(28,957

)

(27,942

)

(98,551

)

(32,167

)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net income

 

$

102,607

 

$

119,276

 

$

123,405

 

$

45,569

 

$

84,709

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Financial Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EBITDA(1)

 

$

189,669

 

$

201,050

 

$

189,781

 

$

157,114

 

$

134,514

 

Cash provided by operating activities

 

158,853

 

179,748

 

181,838

 

47,652

 

143,803

 

Cash used in investing activities

 

(118,205

)

(125,046

)

(233,582

)

(192,147

)

(238,703

)

Cash (used in) provided by financing activities

 

(66,005

)

(54,235

)

(12,528

)

75,367

 

246,867

 

Capital expenditures and payments for land acquisitions and other assets

 

147,257

 

178,967

 

241,741

 

172,684

 

180,740

 

 

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As of September 30,

 

 

 

2008

 

2007

 

2006

 

2005

 

2004

 

 

 

(Dollars in Thousands)

 

Balance Sheet Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

 

$

53,305

 

$

78,662

 

$

78,195

 

$

142,467

 

$

211,595

 

Total assets

 

935,718

 

885,960

 

840,376

 

698,848

 

584,056

 

Total liabilities

 

644,872

 

655,716

 

650,745

 

589,423

 

497,369

 

Total capital

 

$

290,846

 

$

230,244

 

$

189,631

 

$

109,425

 

$

86,687

 

 


(1)             EBITDA represents earnings before interest and depreciation. We are not subject to U.S. federal income taxation under current interpretations of the U.S. federal tax code. EBITDA is presented to provide additional information that our management uses to assess our business and because we believe it is frequently used by securities analysts, investors and other interested parties in the evaluation of companies in our industry. However, other companies in our industry may calculate EBITDA differently than we do. EBITDA is not a measurement of financial condition or profitability under generally accepted accounting principles and should not be considered as an alternative to cash flow from operating activities or as a measure of liquidity or an alternative to net income as indicators of our operating performance or any other measures of performance derived in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.

 

EBITDA includes pre-opening costs of approximately $0.3 million, $15.4 million, $9.5 million, $1.5 million, and $4.2 million for Fiscal 2008, Fiscal 2007, Fiscal 2006, Fiscal 2005 and Fiscal 2004, respectively.

 

The following table sets forth a reconciliation of net income to EBITDA, which management believes is the most nearly equivalent measure under U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. The adjustments set forth below are those relevant to the periods presented.

 

 

 

Fiscal Years Ended September 30,

 

 

 

2008

 

2007

 

2006

 

2005

 

2004

 

 

 

(Dollars in Thousands)

 

Net income

 

$

102,607

 

$

119,276

 

$

123,405

 

$

45,569

 

$

84,709

 

Depreciation

 

51,081

 

49,597

 

38,992

 

26,295

 

17,638

 

Net interest expense

 

35,981

 

32,177

 

27,384

 

85,250

 

32,167

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EBITDA

 

$

189,669

 

$

201,050

 

$

189,781

 

$

157,114

 

$

134,514

 

 

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Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

 

You should read the following discussion and analysis in conjunction with the section titled “Selected Consolidated Financial and Other Data” and the financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report. References herein to years are to fiscal years of Seneca Gaming Corporation unless otherwise noted. Our fiscal year is from October 1 through September 30.

 

Overview

 

The Nation and SGC

 

SGC is wholly owned by the Nation and chartered to develop, manage and direct all of the Nation’s Class III gaming operations on the Nation’s territories in Western New York. SGC was chartered by the Nation in August 2002.  In August 2002, the Nation entered into the Compact with New York State that provides the Nation with the right to establish and operate three Class III gaming facilities in Western New York.  We currently operate three Class III gaming facilities in Western New York—Seneca  Niagara Casino and Hotel, which is located in the City of Niagara Falls, New York (Niagara Territory) and operated by SNFGC, approximately 20 miles north of Buffalo, New York; Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, which is located in the City of Salamanca, New York (Allegany Territory) and operated by STGC, approximately 75 miles northeast of Erie, Pennsylvania; and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, which is located in the inner harbor district of Buffalo, New York (Buffalo Creek Territory) and operated by SEGC. Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel opened on December 31, 2002 (initially, as the Seneca Niagara Casino).  Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel opened on May 1, 2004 (initially, as the Seneca Allegany Casino).  Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino commenced operations on July 3, 2007 in a temporary facility.  Our three casinos are located on land held in restricted fee by the Nation, which, together with the rights under the Compact, allows us to conduct Class III gaming operations at these locations in New York State and to operate the only casino resort gaming facilities in Western New York State to offer both Class III slot machines and table games.  See “Item 3. Legal Proceedings” for a discussion of litigation challenging, among other matters, the eligibility of certain of these lands for gaming under IGRA.

 

As of September 30, 2008, Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel featured over 147,000 square feet of gaming space, 4,112 slot machines, 102 table games and 604 hotel rooms; Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel featured over 63,500 square feet of gaming space, 2,330 slot machines, 40 table games and 212 hotel rooms; and the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino temporary facility featured 244 slot machines and no table games.

 

As of September 30, 2008, we had approximately 1.5 million members in the Seneca Link Player’s Card database.  As of September 30, 2008, approximately 28% of the approximate 1.5 million Seneca Link Player’s Card members lived in the Buffalo-Niagara area, and approximately 22%, 21%, 21% and 8% lived in Ohio, Pennsylvania, other areas of New York and Canada, respectively.

 

Executive Summary

 

Our Current Operations.    We currently operate three Class III gaming facilities, Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel, in the City of Niagara Falls, New York (Niagara Territory), Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, in the City of Salamanca, New York (Allegany Territory), and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino (slots only temporary facility), in the City of Buffalo, New York (Buffalo Creek Territory). Our casino operations include gaming, lodging, dining, entertainment, retail and spa and salon services. For Fiscal 2008 and Fiscal 2007, approximately 92% and 93%, respectively, of our net revenue was derived from our Class III gaming activities.

 

Recent Developments.  During the first two months of Fiscal 2009, the Corporation experienced a 4.7% decrease in slot handle and a 15.0% decrease in table games drop, which contributed to a decrease in net revenue of 5.2% when compared to the same two month period of the prior year.

 

As a result of the current recession and its impact on our performance as noted above, we announced on December 2, 2008, a plan to reduce our workforce to assist in maintaining the ongoing financial health of the Corporation.  This decision came after the proactive implementation of cost saving measures over the past twelve months to reduce our expenses and to increase profitability and operating efficiencies.  While we have been successful in obtaining such efficiencies, we believe it to be prudent to continue to be conscious of the economic crisis facing all consumers and the

 

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resulting tightening of consumer spending and its impact on the availability of discretionary funds for gaming and entertainment purposes.  In addition to a limited workforce reduction, we also implemented a wage freeze for certain of our employees, salary reductions for senior management and members of our Board of Directors, as well as a suspension of our bonus program historically paid in December of each year, among other initiatives.  While we endeavor to continue to produce operating results generally consistent with those historically achieved we feel it is prudent to continue to take measures to preserve SGC’s financial condition and position us for future growth and success.

 

Key Performance Indicators.    Our operating results are dependent on the volume of patrons at our casinos, our ability to attract them for repeat visits and our ability to increase patron revenue per trip.

 

Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel.    Prior to the opening of our luxury hotel, Seneca Niagara Casino primarily relied on drive-in and bus patrons from the Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Rochester areas in New York and secondarily from Erie, Pennsylvania, Ohio and other parts of New York.  Since the opening of the new luxury hotel and expanded gaming and related amenities during Fiscal 2006, Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel has experienced steady growth in its patron base.  The expansion of Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel, including the addition of our luxury hotel and other amenities, has enabled us to increase higher-end patron volume, gaming activity, and length of stay, and extended our geographic market penetration and appeal to a more diverse demographic base.  During Fiscal 2008, our average hotel occupancy rate was approximately 94%, approximately 72% of which were complimentary rooms provided to our gaming patrons.

 

As of September 30, 2008, we had paid for substantially all of our completed expansion projects out of cash flow from operations and proceeds of our senior notes. Our completed expansion projects since the opening of the casino on December 31, 2002 include the addition of Turtle Island, a non-smoking casino room; a 2,300-space parking garage; the Western Door, an upscale steakhouse; our “Pennies From Heaven” slot room located on the mezzanine level overlooking our main casino, adding approximately 6,600 square feet of gaming space including 242 additional ticket-in/ticket-out slot machines; and our luxury hotel and related amenities.  We opened substantially all public areas and the first 10 floors of rooms on December 15, 2005, and completely opened the remaining hotel rooms and all amenities on March 31, 2006.  The total cost of the luxury hotel expansion project was approximately $234.0 million.

 

Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel.    Since its opening on May 1, 2004, Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel has attracted patrons from the southern portion of Western New York, Erie and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Ohio. As of September 30, 2008, approximately 67% of its patrons have come from outside New York State.  During Fiscal 2008, our average hotel occupancy rate was 97%, of which approximately 79% were complimentary rooms provided to our gaming patrons.

 

In July 2005, we opened our 1,840-space parking garage, which cost approximately $32.2 million.  In March 2007, we opened a 212-room resort hotel, including two fine dining restaurants, a 24-hour casual restaurant and certain additional amenities after officially opening a new permanent gaming floor in December 2006.  In March 2008, we completed the conversion of the former 120,000 square foot temporary casino structure  into an events center with a seating capacity for 2,200 people, along with additional administrative office space and amenities.   We believe the new resort hotel, permanent casino and events center provide a first-class gaming experience for our patrons, increase their length of stay and maintain the competitive position of this facility in light of competition in Pennsylvania, consisting principally of Presque Isle Downs, a new gaming facility that opened in late February 2007 in Erie, Pennsylvania approximately  80 miles from the Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel and 120 miles from the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel.  Presque Isle does not provide table games or lodging, but currently provides approximately 2,000 slots and dining and entertainment options that include a steakhouse, a buffet and four lounges.

 

Construction on our next phase of development at Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, which was planned to include an additional 200 room hotel tower, and up to 30,000 square feet of additional gaming space and related amenities, for a total estimated cost of up to $130 million, was suspended on August 27, 2008 due to various factors, including challenging economic and capital market conditions, operating and other demands on our available cash, and increased competition and construction costs.  We intend to resume construction upon the stabilization of economic and capital market conditions and availability of external financing upon acceptable terms.

 

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Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino.    On October 3, 2005, the Nation acquired approximately nine acres of land in the inner-harbor district of Buffalo, New York.  Initially, the nine acre parcel was bisected by a two-block section of a street owned by the City of Buffalo (Fulton Street).  In November 2006, we acquired the two-block section of Fulton Street from the City of Buffalo for a purchase price of $0.6 million to create a contiguous 9-acre parcel for development.  In order to meet the requirements of the Compact, on December 8, 2005 we began construction of a temporary Class III gaming facility on the Seneca Buffalo Creek Territory.  On July 3, 2007 we began operating the temporary Class III gaming facility (approximately 6,000 square feet) featuring 135 slot machines and a snack bar.  During the quarter ended March 31, 2008 the temporary facility was expanded to include an additional 109 slot machines.  The current temporary facility is approximately 8,600 square feet, and features 244 slot machines and a snack bar.

 

On October 3, 2007, we formally announced our plans for a permanent casino and hotel complex on the Buffalo Creek Territory having an estimated cost of $333 million, featuring approximately 90,000 square feet of gaming space; 2,000 slot machines; 46  table games; a 22-story all-suite hotel; four restaurants; a full-service spa and salon; retail and other amenities; and a 2,200-space parking garage.

 

On August 27, 2008 we suspended construction due to various factors, including challenging economic and capital market conditions, operating and other demands on our available cash (including distributions to the Nation and operating lease payment increases), and increased competition and construction costs.

 

Our ability to continue to operate the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino temporary facility, our ability to complete the permanent facility, as well as the timing of the construction and opening of the permanent Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, will depend on various factors, including existing legal challenges and the availability of financing on acceptable terms.  See “Item 3. Legal Proceedings” for a discussion of certain existing legal challenges.

 

Seneca Hickory Stick Golf Course — Lewiston, New YorkIn March 2006, we acquired 257 acres of land with the intent to design and build a championship level golf course in Lewiston, New York, approximately eight miles from Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel.  We selected the Robert Trent Jones II firm to design the golf course.  Construction of the golf course commenced in July 2007, with completion scheduled for Spring 2009.  To allow for proper grow-in of the course, it is anticipated that the official opening of the course will occur in Spring 2010.  The decision as to when to open the golf course for play will depend upon how well the course matures throughout the 2009 growing season.  The total cost to construct the golf course, clubhouse and related amenities is estimated to be approximately $25.5 million.

 

In light of greater demands on our available cash, increased competition and challenging economic and capital market conditions, the Company, in consultation with the Nation, continues to evaluate the scope, phasing and timing of its clubhouse design for the Seneca Hickory Stick Golf Course.  The Company believes that it is early enough in the design and construction process to accommodate appropriate changes to its plans, if necessary.

 

Class II Gaming OperationsIn January 2005, we transferred all Class II operations to the Nation.  SNFGC and STGC, respectively, lease space to the Nation for its operation of the Class II poker operations at the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel.  The leases provide for payment of costs, to include among other things, space rental and food and beverage. The transfer of the Class II operations as of January 1, 2005 is consistent with our understanding of the Council’s intent that we manage and operate the Nation’s Class III operations and that the Council, through Seneca Gaming and Entertainment, directly manages and operates the Nation’s Class II operations as it has historically done.

 

Current, Continued and Future Reliance on Cash Flow. We intend to fund the maintenance of our existing facilities from our cash flow and cash on hand, to be supplemented with borrowings under the Senior Secured Revolving Loan Agreement, as necessary. We currently rely and expect to continue to rely on our ability to generate cash flow from operations to satisfy our financial obligations and commitments and maintenance capital expenditure requirements.  The resumption of construction on the Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel expansion and the permanent Buffalo Creek Casino and Hotel project will depend on our ability to secure necessary external financing on acceptable terms.

 

Seasonality.  We have generally observed seasonal increases in gaming activity during the spring and summer months and decreases in gaming activity during the winter months associated with inclement weather.

 

Overall Outlook.      SGC believes that it is the premier gaming operator in Western New York State and in the areas of Northern Pennsylvania and Ohio located within its primary and secondary markets. Since the December 31, 2002 opening of

 

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the Seneca Niagara Casino, SGC has invested significantly in the development, expansion and maintenance of its gaming facilities, including the completion of the hotel and gaming expansion projects at Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, the opening of the temporary casino on the Seneca Buffalo Creek Territory.  These investments have enabled SGC to maintain its position as the premier gaming operator in the region described above.  To further that objective, and to provide for expanded opportunities in the convention and tourism markets, a master planning process continues with respect to the Niagara Falls, Allegany and Buffalo gaming and related facilities. A principal goal is for the facilities to complement each other, offering diverse hotel, entertainment and gaming experiences for guests.

 

Although the current economic recession and increased regional competition present ongoing challenges and will require ongoing operational efforts to mitigate the impact of these adverse developments, we continue to believe that the Western New York hotel, entertainment and gaming markets are underserved, and that the exclusivity provided by the Compact will continue to present us with a unique opportunity to serve these markets.

 

Explanation of Key Financial Statement Captions

 

Gross revenues.  Our gross revenues are derived primarily from the following four sources:

 

 

·

gaming revenues, which include revenues from slot machines, table games and keno;

 

 

·

food and beverage revenues;

 

 

·

hotel revenues; and

 

 

·

retail, entertainment and other revenues, which include revenues from retail shops and spa and salon services.

 

Our largest component of revenues is gaming revenues, which is recognized as amounts wagered less prizes paid out, and is comprised primarily of revenues from our slot machines and table games. Revenues from slot machines are the largest component of our gaming revenues. Gross slot revenues, also referred to as gross slot win, represent all amounts played in the slot machines reduced by both (1) winnings paid out and (2) slot tickets issued but not redeemed.

 

Other commonly used terms in the discussion of revenues from slot machines include progressive slot machines, progressive jackpots, net slot revenues, slot handle, gross slot hold percentage and net slot hold percentage. Progressive slot machines retain a portion of each amount wagered and aggregate these amounts with similar amounts from other slot machines in order to create one-time winnings that are substantially larger than those paid in the ordinary course of play. We refer to such aggregated amounts as progressive jackpots. Wide-area progressive jackpot amounts are paid by a third party vendor and we remit a weekly payment to the vendor based on a percentage of the slot handle for each wide-area progressive slot machine. We accrue in-house progressive jackpot amounts until paid, and such accrued amounts are deducted from gross slot revenues, along with wide-area progressive jackpot amounts, to arrive at net slot revenues, also referred to as net slot win. Net slot revenues are included in gaming revenues in the accompanying consolidated statements of income. Slot handle is the total amount wagered by patrons on slot machines during the period. Gross slot hold percentage is the gross slot win as a percentage of slot handle. Net slot hold percentage is the net slot win as a percentage of slot handle.

 

Commonly used terms in the discussion of revenues from table games include table games revenues, table games drop and table games hold percentage. Table games revenues represents the closing table games inventory plus table games drop and credit slips for coins or chips returned to the casino cage, less opening table games inventory, discounts provided on patron losses, free bet coupons and chip fills to the tables. Table games drop is the total amount of cash, free bet coupons, cash advance drafts, customer deposit withdrawals, safekeeping withdrawals and credit issued at the table contained in the locked container at each gaming table. Table games hold percentage is the table games revenues as a percentage of table games drop.

 

Revenues from food and beverage, hotel, retail, spa and salon, entertainment events and other services are recognized at the time the service is performed. Minimum rental revenue that we receive pursuant to our license agreement for the Brookstone store at the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel is recognized on a straight-line basis over the term of the lease.

 

Promotional allowances.  We operate a program for our guests, without membership fees, called the Seneca Link Player’s Card. This program provides complimentary food, beverages, hotel, retail, entertainment and other services to guests based on points that are awarded for guests’ gaming activities. These points may be used to purchase, among other things, items at the retail stores, spa and salon and restaurants located within our properties. Points also may be used to purchase hotel services and tickets to entertainment events. The retail value of points are included in gross revenues when redeemed at our facilities and then deducted as promotional allowances to arrive at net revenues.

 

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Gaming expenses.  The largest component of gaming expenses is the percentage of slot machine net drop (money dropped into the machines after payout but before our expenses) which must be paid to the State of New York, pursuant to the Compact, which is referred to as the exclusivity payment.  The exclusivity payment is 18% for the first four years, 22% for years 5-7 (beginning Januray 1, 2007), and 25% for the remainder of the term (beginning January 1, 2010).

 

Gaming expenses also include, among other things, expenses associated with operation of slot machines, table games, and keno, certain marketing expenses, and promotional expenses for the Seneca Link Player’s Card points redeemed at our hotel, restaurants and retail outlets, as well as a third party tenant retail shop.

 

Advertising, general and administrative.  The largest components of advertising, general and administrative expenses are those charges related to: advertising, marketing, regulatory oversight, insurance, utilities, legal services and the operating leases with the Nation, which represent amounts paid to the Nation for the use of the land and certain improvements on which our operations are conducted.

 

Income from operations.  We calculate income from operations as net revenues less total operating costs and expenses. Income from operations represents only those amounts that relate to our consolidated operations and excludes interest income, interest expense and other non-operating income and expense.

 

Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

 

Management’s discussion and analysis of our financial condition, results of operations and liquidity and capital resources are based on our consolidated financial statements. To prepare our consolidated financial statements in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America, we must make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts reported in the consolidated financial statements. We regularly evaluate these estimates and assumptions, particularly in areas we consider to be critical accounting estimates, where changes in the estimates and assumptions could have a material impact on our results of operations, financial position and, to a lesser extent, cash flows. There can be no assurance that actual results will not differ from our estimates. To provide an understanding of the methodology we apply, our significant accounting policies and basis of presentation are summarized in Note 2 to our audited consolidated financial statements included in this Annual Report. We believe the following accounting policies involve a higher degree of management judgment:

 

Liability for Unredeemed Seneca Link Player’s Card Points.    Patrons who are members of our Seneca Link Player’s Card rewards program earn promotional points based on the volume and type of their gaming activity. The Seneca Link Player’s Card accumulates points that are redeemable for food and beverage at our restaurants, lodging, spa and salon services, free slot play and products offered at our retail stores. Points are accrued and reflected as a current liability on our balance sheets based upon expected redemption rates and the estimated cost of the service or merchandise to be provided. Management reviews the adequacy of the accrual for unredeemed points by periodically evaluating the historical redemption and projected trends. Actual results could differ from our estimates.

 

Self-Insurance Reserves.    We have financial exposure for portions of our employee benefits programs and general liability reserves. We accrue for liabilities based on filed claims and estimates of claims incurred but not reported. We believe the accruals to cover these costs are adequate, but actual results may vary from the amount accrued.

 

Property and Equipment.    We have a significant amount of capital invested in our property and equipment, which is stated at cost less accumulated depreciation and amortization. We use judgment in determining if, or when, assets have been impaired and the estimated useful lives of assets. The accuracy of these estimates affects whether or not impairment exists, and the depreciation and amortization expense recognized in our results of operations. Leasehold improvements represent a significant portion of our property and equipment balance. These assets are amortized over the related lease term or depreciable life, whichever is shorter. The useful lives assigned to our other property and equipment assets are based on our standard policy, which we believe represents the useful life of each category of asset. In accordance with SFAS No. 144, Accounting for the Impairment or Disposal of Long-Lived Assets, the carrying values of our long-lived assets are reviewed when events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable. Assets are grouped at the property level when estimating future undiscounted cash flows for determining whether an asset has been impaired. Management assesses the possibility of asset impairment by using the estimates of future undiscounted cash flows,

 

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which are affected by current operating results, trends and prospects, as well as the effect of obsolescence, demand, competition and other economic factors.

 

Our analysis of undiscounted cash flows represents our best estimates at the time of the review. However, changes in these assumptions due to actual market conditions that cause less favorable results than our estimates may result in impairment in the future.

 

Regulatory Costs.    We have financial exposure for regulatory costs related to oversight provided by the New York State Police (State Police) billed but not paid.  There is an ongoing dispute between the Nation and the State Police as to the appropriate amount of costs that are due to the State Police for their regulatory oversight.  As of September 30, 2008, we have accrued approximately $24.2 million to cover such costs.  In our opinion, this accrual is adequate, but actual results may vary from the amount accrued.

 

Operating Results

 

Summary of Operating Results

 

As of September 30, 2008, we own and operate the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel in Niagara Falls, New York; the Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel in Allegany, New York; and the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in Buffalo, New York.  In addition, Lewiston Golf Course Corporation was established to operate a golf course which is currently under construction.  All of our revenues are derived from these operations.

 

The following table summarizes our results from operations by property:

 

 

 

Fiscal Years Ended

 

 

 

September 30,

 

 

 

2008

 

2007

 

2006

 

 

 

(Dollars in Thousands)

 

Net revenues:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seneca Niagara Falls Casino and Hotel

 

$

432,710

 

$

418,363

 

$

365,820

 

Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel

 

166,631

 

168,295

 

156,666

 

Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino

 

32,747

 

6,306

 

8

 

Total

 

$

632,088

 

$

592,964

 

$

522,494

 

Operating expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seneca Niagara Falls Casino and Hotel

 

$

298,588

 

$

287,362

 

$

254,318

 

Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel

 

154,144

 

138,144

 

111,147

 

Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino

 

30,819

 

17,955

 

3,945

 

Seneca Hickory Stick Golf Course

 

234

 

 

 

Seneca Gaming Corporation

 

4,115

 

1,270

 

1,737

 

Total

 

$

487,900

 

$

444,731

 

$

371,147

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operating income

 

$

144,188

 

$

148,233

 

$

151,347

 

 

The most important factors and trends contributing to our operating performance during Fiscal 2008, 2007, and 2006 were:

 

Positive factors and trends

 

·                                          The opening of our temporary facility on the Buffalo Creek Territory in July 2007, which was in operation for all of Fiscal 2008, compared to approximately three months during Fiscal 2007;

 

·                                          The opening of our luxury hotel at Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel (completed in March 2006), and our resort hotel at Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel (completed in March 2007), enabling us to better attract higher-end gaming patrons, extend the stay of our patrons and expand our geographic marketing reach;

 

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·                                          The opening of the Seneca Events Centers at Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel in March 2006, and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel in March 2008, respectively, resulting in increased entertainment offerings for our patrons;

 

·                                          Our ability to enroll patrons in our cross-property Seneca Link Player’s Card program, which continues to facilitate the use of effective direct mail and targeted marketing programs to establish patron loyalty to the Seneca brand at a profitable level;

 

·                                          Our mix of slot machines, which we believe is superior to our competition and includes the latest product offerings by leading slot manufacturers, and promotes the ongoing development of a Seneca brand inter-property progressive link;

 

·                                          Our historic capital reinvestment in both our Niagara Falls and Allegany properties;

 

·                                          Smoking bans in New York and Canada which came into effect in July 2003 and May 2006, respectively, which have helped to distinguish our properties from competitors; and

 

·                                          Operating initiatives which include:  continued focus on hotel yield management; reduced food and beverage costs as a percent of food and beverage revenue; repricing of our food and beverage products; initiative to increase our cash paying patrons; and labor efficiencies achieved through active monitoring of scheduling activities.

 

Negative factors and trends

 

·                                          A four percentage point increase in the slot exclusivity fee rate paid to the State of New York from 18% to 22%, effective January 1, 2007, pursuant to the Compact;

 

·                                          The opening in February 2007 of a competing gaming facility at Presque Isle Downs in Erie, Pennsylvania, approximately 80 miles from the Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel and 120 miles from the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel, offering approximately 2,000 slot machines;

 

·                                          Tumultuous and volatile economic conditions, reduced access to credit, increasing unemployment, and general consumer uncertainty leading to economic recession, reduced consumer spending and an apparent transition to gaming of logistical convenience;

 

·                                          Adverse credit market conditions which have reduced the availability, and increased the cost, of capital for expansion projects;

 

·                                          The effects of higher fuel prices, which have softened demand for gaming and related entertainment offerings and reduced the trip frequency of patrons residing in our outer markets;

 

·                                          The effects of operating lease payments and distributions to the Nation, which have limited our cash reserves and funds available for construction, capital reinvestment and liquidity reserves; and

 

·                                          Reduced capital reinvestment in both our Niagara Falls and Allegany properties.

 

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Gross Revenues

 

Gross revenues consisted of the following:

 

 

 

Fiscal Years Ended

 

 

 

September 30,

 

 

 

2008

 

2007

 

2006

 

 

 

(Dollars in Thousands)

 

Gaming

 

$

632,580

 

$

595,826

 

$

519,620

 

Food and beverage

 

63,272

 

56,608

 

50,141

 

Lodging

 

28,757

 

24,352

 

10,654

 

Retail, entertainment and other

 

25,032

 

20,190

 

19,940

 

Total

 

$

749,641

 

$

696,976

 

$

600,355

 

 

The table below summarizes the percentage of gross revenues from each revenue source:

 

 

 

Fiscal Years Ended

 

 

 

September 30,

 

 

 

2008

 

2007

 

2006

 

Gaming

 

84.4

%

85.5

%

86.6

%

Food and beverage

 

8.5

%

8.1

%

8.3

%

Lodging

 

3.8

%

3.5

%

1.8

%

Retail, entertainment and other

 

3.3

%

2.9

%

3.3

%

Total

 

100.0

%

100.0

%

100.0

%

 

Gaming Revenue

 

The following table presents data related to gaming revenues (in thousands, except where noted):

 

 

 

Fiscal Years Ended

 

 

 

September 30,

 

 

 

2008

 

2007

 

2006

 

Slot handle

 

$

6,738,084

 

$

6,285,270

 

$

5,536,338

 

Gross slot revenue

 

$

579,128

 

$

535,764

 

$

471,778

 

Net slot revenue

 

$

513,192

 

$

476,618

 

$

422,858

 

Weighted average number of slot machines (in units)

 

6,708

 

6,480

 

6,051

 

Gross slot hold percentage

 

8.59

%

8.52

%

8.52

%

Gross slot win per unit per day (in dollars)

 

$

236

 

$

227

 

$

214

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table games drop

 

$

420,474

 

$

452,805

 

$

413,084

 

Gross table games revenue

 

$

68,109

 

$

76,830

 

$

66,701

 

Net table games revenue

 

$

68,033

 

$

76,777

 

$

66,694

 

Weighted average number of table games (in units)

 

142

 

138

 

120

 

Table games hold percentage

 

16.20

%

16.97

%

16.15

%

Table games revenue per unit per day (in dollars)

 

$

1,310

 

$

1,524

 

$

1,527

 

 

Gaming revenues during Fiscal 2008 increased when compared to Fiscal 2007 primarily due to the opening of the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino temporary facility on July 3, 2007, which added 244 slot machines to our gaming portfolio, and facilitated continued growth in our patron base.  During Fiscal 2008, our weighted average number of table games and slot machines were 142 and 6,708, respectively, representing a net increase of 4 table games and 228 slot machines when compared to Fiscal 2007.  Despite increasing the weighted average number of slot machines available year over year since 2006, we have continued to achieve growth in our gross slot win per unit per day through the introduction of new content to our floor on a regular basis.  During Fiscal 2008, the number of patrons enrolled in our Seneca Link Player’s Card program has steadily increased. As of September 30, 2008, we had approximately 1.5 million patrons enrolled, an increase of approximately 100,000 patrons over the number enrolled at September 30, 2007.

 

Our gaming revenue during Fiscal 2007 increased when compared to Fiscal 2006 primarily due to strong demand at Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel, and the expansion of our gaming floor at Seneca Allegany Casino in December 2006, which added 37,000 additional square feet of gaming space, including 270 additional slot machines and 16 additional table games.

 

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We implemented electronic slot bonusing, which is included in slot revenues and promotional allowances, in July 2004 at Seneca Niagara Casino and in August 2004 at Seneca Allegany Casino.  This program allows us to reward our slot patrons, based on their propensity to game, by providing slot promotional credits for free play directly at the slot machine through the use of their Seneca Link Player’s Card. The slot promotional credits must be played at a slot machine and cannot be redeemed for cash.  These slot promotional credits amounted to $31.6 million, $26.3 million, and $19.6 million at Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel during Fiscal 2008, 2007, and 2006, respectively, and $19.3 million, $15.7 million, and $10.0 million at Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel during Fiscal 2008, 2007, and 2006, respectively.  The increase in slot promotional credit play during Fiscal 2008 and 2007 was primarily due to increased slot play and the increased frequency of certain promotions which enabled patrons to exchange points earned on Seneca Link Player’s Card points for slot promotional credits.

 

Our net gaming revenue, net of promotional credits of $50.9 million and $42.0 million during Fiscal 2008 and 2007, respectively, increased $27.8 million, or 5%, when comparing the same periods.  During Fiscal 2008, Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel’s net gaming revenue increased $6.8 million, or 2% when compared to Fiscal 2007; Seneca Allegany Casino’s net gaming revenue decreased $5.0 million, or 3% when comparing these same periods primarily due to the introduction of competition from Presque Isle Downs; and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino’s net gaming revenue increased $26.0 million, or 418% when comparing these same periods, due to the property being open for all of Fiscal 2008 as compared to approximately three months during Fiscal 2007.

 

Our net gaming revenue, net of promotional credits of $42.0 million and $29.6 million during Fiscal 2007 and 2006, respectively, increased $63.8 million, or 13%, when comparing these same periods.  During Fiscal 2007, Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel’s net gaming revenue increased $48.7 million, or 14%, when compared to Fiscal 2006, while Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel’s net gaming revenue increased $9.0 million, or 6% when comparing these same periods.  Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, which opened on July 3, 2007, had net gaming revenue of $6.2 million during Fiscal 2007.

 

Food and Beverage Revenue

 

The following table presents data related to food and beverage revenue (in thousands, except where noted):

 

 

 

Fiscal Years Ended

 

 

 

September 30,

 

 

 

2008

 

2007

 

2006

 

Covers

 

4,342

 

4,226

 

3,929

 

Average Check (in dollars)

 

$

14.57

 

$

13.40

 

$

12.76

 

 

During Fiscal 2008, food and beverage revenue increased $6.7 million, or 12% when compared to Fiscal 2007, to $63.3 million.  Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel contributed $4.8 million of the increase; Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel contributed $1.6 million of the increase; and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino accounted for $0.3 million of the increase.  During Fiscal 2008 revenues from food and beverage cash sales increased 16% when compared to Fiscal 2007.  During Fiscal 2008 and 2007, 55% and 56%, respectively, of our food and beverage revenue were the result of Seneca Link Player’s Card point redemptions.

 

During Fiscal 2007, food and beverage revenue increased $6.5 million, or 13% when compared to Fiscal 2006, to $56.6 million.  Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel contributed $3.8 million of the increase; Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel contributed $2.6 million of the increase, partially due to the opening of two fine dining restaurants and a twenty-four hour casual restaurant in conjunction with the resort hotel opening on March 30, 2007; and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino accounted for $0.1 million of the increase.  During Fiscal 2007 and 2006, 56% and 59%, respectively, of our food and beverage revenue were the result of Seneca Link Player’s Card point redemptions.

 

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Lodging Revenue

 

The following table presents data related to lodging revenue:

 

 

 

Fiscal Years Ended

 

 

 

September 30,

 

 

 

2008

 

2007

 

2006

 

Occupied rooms

 

281,924

 

233,286

 

60,188

 

Average daily room rate (ADR)

 

$

102

 

$

104

 

$

177

 

Occupancy rate

 

95.1

%

90.2

%

85.8

%

Revenue per available room (REVPAR)

 

$

97

 

$

94

 

$

152

 

 

During Fiscal 2008 our lodging revenue increased by $4.4 million, or 18% when compared to Fiscal 2007 due to increased occupancy, offset by a slight decrease in average rate per occupied room.   Senece Niagara Casino and Hotel contributed $1.1 million of the increase and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel contributed $3.3 million of the increase due to its 212-room resort hotel being open for the entire fiscal year compared to approximately six months during the fiscal year ended September 30, 2007.

 

During Fiscal 2007 our lodging revenue increased by $13.7 million, or 129% compared to Fiscal 2006.  $9.8 million of the increase was generated by the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel as a result of the 604-room luxury hotel being open for the entire fiscal year compared to only a partial year of operation during Fiscal 2006.  Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel contributed $3.9 million of the increase due to opening the 212-room resort hotel on March 30, 2007.

 

Retail, Entertainment and Other Revenue

 

During Fiscal 2008, our retail, entertainment and other revenue increased by $4.8 million, or 24%, compared to the prior fiscal year.  The increase was primarily attributable to higher entertainment revenue due to the opening of the event center at Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel in March 2008 and higher commissions received on ATM and credit cash advance services.  During Fiscal 2008 and 2007, 76% and 82%, respectively, of our retail revenue represented Seneca Link Player’s Card point redemptions.

 

During Fiscal 2007, our retail, entertainment and other revenue increased by $0.3 million, or 2%, compared to the prior fiscal year.  The increase was primarily due to a $1.0 million increase in entertainment revenue and a $0.7 million increase in other revenue, offset by a $1.4 million decrease in retail revenue.  The decrease in retail revenue is a result of the relocation of stores at Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel during Fiscal 2007, redirected patron traffic patterns at Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel due to construction and also due to patrons redeeming Seneca Link Player’s Card points for slot promotional credits in lieu of retail purchases.

 

Promotional Allowances

 

SGC operates a complimentary program in which food and beverage, retail, entertainment, and other services are provided to patrons based on points earned through the Seneca Link Player’s Card.  The retail value of these complimentary items is included in gross revenues and then deducted as promotional allowances to arrive at net revenues.

 

The retail value of providing such promotional allowances was included in revenues as follows:

 

 

 

Fiscal Years Ended

 

 

 

September 30,

 

 

 

2008

 

2007

 

2006

 

 

 

(Dollars in Thousands)

 

Gaming

 

$

50,917

 

$

41,989

 

$

29,616

 

Food and beverage

 

33,666

 

31,781

 

29,271

 

Lodging

 

20,677

 

18,956

 

6,712

 

Retail, entertainment and other

 

12,293

 

11,286

 

12,262

 

Total

 

$

117,553

 

$

104,012

 

$

77,861

 

 

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The estimated cost of providing such promotional allowances was as follows:

 

 

 

Fiscal Years Ended

 

 

 

September 30,

 

 

 

2008

 

2007

 

2006

 

 

 

(Dollars in Thousands)

 

Food and beverage

 

$

26,540

 

$

27,071

 

$

25,416

 

Lodging

 

9,450

 

8,672

 

3,620

 

Retail, entertainment and other

 

9,796

 

9,673

 

8,929

 

Total

 

$

45,786

 

$

45,416

 

$

37,965

 

 

Promotional allowances as a percent of gaming revenue were 18.6%, 17.5% and 15.0% during Fiscal 2008, 2007 and 2006, respectively.  Promotional allowances increased $13.5 million, or 13% from Fiscal 2007 to Fiscal 2008.  The increase is primarily due to an increase in marketing programs encouraging the use of points earned through the Seneca Link Player’s Card to increase trip frequency and extend trip duration.

 

Promotional allowances increased $26.2 million, or 34% from Fiscal 2006 to Fiscal 2007.  The increase is primarily due to an increase in the frequency of a promotion offered allowing patrons to exchange points earned through the Seneca Link Player’s Card for free slot play, as well as the increase in points used to purchase lodging and related services due to the opening of our luxury hotel at the Seneca Niagara Falls Casino and Hotel.

 

Detailed Operating Expense Information

 

 

 

Fiscal Years Ended

 

 

 

September 30,

 

 

 

2008

 

2007

 

2006

 

 

 

(Dollars in Thousands)

 

Operating expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gaming

 

$

169,472

 

$

153,259

 

$

129,396

 

Food and beverage

 

49,907

 

47,863

 

43,485

 

Lodging

 

15,038

 

11,862

 

6,131

 

Retail, entertainment and other

 

15,105

 

12,886

 

11,668

 

Advertising, general and administrative

 

187,011

 

153,838

 

131,997

 

Pre-opening costs

 

286

 

15,426

 

9,478

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

51,081

 

49,597

 

38,992

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operating expenses

 

$

487,900

 

$

444,731

 

$

371,147

 

 

Gaming Expenses

 

Gaming expenses principally consist of costs incurred from operating our table games and slot machines, of which, the primary components are payroll and payroll related costs and the slot exclusivity fee paid to New York State pursuant to the Compact.

 

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The following tables summarizes the exclusivity fees paid by property:

 

 

 

Fiscal Years Ended

 

 

 

September 30,

 

 

 

2008

 

2007

 

2006

 

 

 

(Dollars in Thousands)

 

Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel

 

$

77,446

 

$

71,440

 

$

53,823

 

Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel

 

31,160

 

30,503

 

25,212

 

Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino

 

7,094

 

1,369

 

 

Total

 

$

115,700

 

$

103,312

 

$

79,035

 

 

The increase in the slot exclusivity fee is attributed to an increase in net slot revenue and an increase in the exclusivity fee rate from 18% to 22%, effective January 1, 2007.  When comparing Fiscal 2008 to Fiscal 2007, the increase in slot exclusivity fees resulting from the 4% rate increase being in effect for the entire fiscal year was $21.0 million.  During Fiscal 2007, the effect of the 4% increase in the exclusivity fee rate was an additional $14.8 million in expense when compared to Fiscal 2006.  Pursuant to the Compact, the exclusivity fee will further increase to 25% on January 1, 2010.

 

Gaming expenses as a percent of gaming revenues were 26.7%, 25.7% and 24.9%, for Fiscal 2008, 2007 and 2006, respectively.

 

Food and Beverage Expenses

 

Food and beverage expenses represent those costs incurred for the operation of our restaurants, snack bars and beverage outlets. The primary components of these expenses are the cost of food and beverage and payroll and payroll related expenses for team members providing the services.

 

During Fiscal 2008, our food and beverage expenses increased $2.0 million, or 4%, when compared to Fiscal 2007.  The increase can be attributed to an increase was food and beverage revenues, offset by a decrease in average food and beverage costs associated with providing such services.  Food and beverage expenses as a percentage of food and beverage revenues were 78.9% and 84.5% for Fiscal 2008 and 2007, respectively.  The decrease was due to a concerted effort to reduce such costs, while maintaining superior product offerings to our patrons.

 

During Fiscal 2007, our food and beverage expenses increased $4.4 million, or 10% when compared to Fiscal 2006.  Approximately $1.1 million of the increase was due to an increase in food and beverage revenues.  The remainder of the increase in expenses can be primarily attributed to an increase in payroll and payroll related expenses resulting from an increase in staffing for three new restaurants and a lounge at Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, which opened in March 2007.

 

Lodging Expenses

 

Lodging expenses represent those costs incurred for the operation of our luxury hotel and spa at Seneca Niagara Falls Casino and Hotel, which partially opened in December 2005 and completely opened on March 31, 2006, and our resort hotel and spa at Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, which opened on March 30, 2007.

 

Lodging expenses increased $3.2 million during Fiscal 2008, or 27%, when compared to Fiscal 2007.  The increase is primarily due to a full year of operation of the resort hotel at Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel during Fiscal 2008 compared to six months of operation during Fiscal 2007.  The most significant lodging related expenses during Fiscal 2008 were $10.6 million incurred for payroll and payroll related expenses, $2.2 million in laundry expense and $0.8 million in expenses related to providing in-room amenities.

 

Lodging expenses increased $5.8 million during Fiscal 2007, or 95%, when compared to Fiscal 2006.  The increase can be primarily attributed to the operation of the luxury hotel at the Seneca Niagara Falls Casino and Hotel for a full year compared to six months of operation during Fiscal 2006, and the opening of the 212-room resort hotel and amenities at Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel on March 30, 2007.  The most significant lodging related expenses during Fiscal 2007 were $8.7 million in payroll and payroll related expenses and $1.4 million in laundry expense.  The major components of lodging

 

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expenses during Fiscal 2006 were payroll and payroll related costs, laundry expense and operating supplies.

 

Lodging expenses as a percent of lodging revenues were 52.3%, 48.7% and 57.5%, for Fiscal 2008, 2007 and 2006, respectively.

 

Retail, Entertainment and Other Expenses

 

Retail, entertainment and other expenses primarily represent those costs incurred for the operation of our retail shops and entertainment offerings, to include payroll and payroll related expenses, the purchase of products offered for sale in our retail outlets and contract costs for entertainers.  Retail, entertainment and other expenses increased $2.2 million during Fiscal 2008, or 17%, when compared to Fiscal 2007, primarily due to the increase in contract entertainment costs resulting from the opening of the events center at Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel in March 2008.

 

During Fiscal 2007, retail, entertainment and other expenses increased $1.2 million, or 11% when compared to Fiscal 2006.  This increase was primarily due to higher expenses for headline entertainment at both Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel and Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel resulting from an increase in both number of shows, and quality of enterainment.

 

Advertising, General and Administrative Expenses

 

Advertising, general and administrative expenses consist primarily of payroll and payroll related expenses, regulatory fees, advertising and marketing costs, operating lease expense, insurance, legal and utility costs.

 

Advertising, general and administrative expenses increased $33.1 million during Fiscal 2008, or 22%, when compared to Fiscal 2007.  The increase was primarily due to a $26.4 million increase in Head Lease expense paid to the Nation for rental of land used in the operation of our facilities; a $3.8 million increase in promotional expenses; a $1.9 million increase in utilities resulting from an increase in utilization due to the expanded facilities and increased utility costs, such as natural gas; and a $0.5 million increase in insurance expenses.

 

Advertisting, general and administrative expenses increased $21.8 million for Fiscal 2007, or 17%, when compared to Fiscal 2006.  Significant factors contributing to this increase were a $6.4 million increase in payroll and payroll related expenses attributable to an increase in employees for the operation of the expanded facilites; a $4.7 million increase in Head Lease expense paid to the Nation for rental of land used in the operation of our facilities; a $3.0 million increase in advertising expenses; and a $2.4 million increase in utilities resulting from an increase in utilization due to the expanded facilities and increased utility costs, such as natural gas. In addition, regulatory fees and other marketing costs increased nominally.

 

Advertising, general and administrative expenses as a percent of gross revenues were 24.9%, 22.1% and 22.0%, for Fiscal 2008, 2007 and 2006, respectively.

 

Pre-opening Expenses

 

During Fiscal 2008, pre-opening expenses incurred were primarily related to the preparation of the Seneca Hickory Stick Golf Course, to be operated by Lewiston Golf Course Corporation.  Pre-opening expenses decreased $15.1 million during Fiscal 2008 due to the opening of the resort hotel at Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel and the temporary casino at Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino during Fiscal 2007.

 

Pre-opening expenses incurred during Fiscal 2007 were $15.4 million which represent costs incurred for the preparation of opening the new 212-room resort hotel, related amenities and three restaurants at Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, all of which opened on March 30, 2007, and for the temporary facility at Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, which opened on July 3, 2007 in the inner harbor district of Buffalo, New York.  During this period, pre-opening expenses were incurred in conjunction with:  the opening of the new resort hotel and related amenities at Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, in the amount of $3.6 million; the opening of the Seneca Buffalo Creek property, in the amount of $11.6 million, consisting primarily of amounts paid to the Nation for use of the land on which the operations exist; and the opening of a restaurant in July 2007 at Seneca Niagara Falls Casino and Hotel, in the amount of $0.2 million.

 

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Depreciation Expense

 

During Fiscal 2008, depreciation expense was $51.1 million, an increase of $1.5 million, or 3%, when compared to the prior fiscal year.

 

During Fiscal 2007, depreciation expense was $49.6 million, an increase of $10.6 million, or 27%, when compared to the prior fiscal year. The increase was due to the opening of the Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, its related amenities and three new restaurants on March 30, 2007, and also due to the operation of the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel in its entirety during Fiscal 2007, as compared to Fiscal 2006.

 

Other Non-Operating (Expenses) and Income, net

 

The following table summarizes information related to other non-operating income and expenses:

 

 

 

Fiscal Years Ended

 

 

 

September 30,

 

 

 

2008

 

2007

 

2006

 

 

 

(Dollars in Thousands)

 

Non-operating (expenses) income

 

$

(5,600

)

$

3,220

 

$

558

 

 

During Fiscal 2008 and 2007, we recorded an other-than-temporary loss on one specific investment of $4.2 million and $0.5 million, respectively, as other non-operating expense, and the cost basis of this investment has been reduced accordingly.  During Fiscal 2008 we also recorded $1.4 million in lease termination costs as other non-operating expense related to amounts paid to a tenant for early termination of a lease agreement related to space in the SGC administration building.  During Fiscal 2007 and 2006, we had non-operating income of $3.7 million and $0.6 million, respectively, primarily resulting from the settlement of an on-going arbitration proceeding involving a dispute with the former construction manager for our luxury hotel expansion project in Niagara Falls.

 

Interest Income

 

Interest income was $1.3 million, $3.8 million and $5.8 million, for Fiscal 2008, 2007 and 2006, respectively.  The decrease in interest income can be attributed to the decrease in the average cash balance deposited with financial institutions in interest bearing accounts when comparing these periods.

 

Interest Expense

 

The following table summarizes information related to interest on our long term debt:

 

 

 

Fiscal Years Ended

 

 

 

September 30,

 

 

 

2008

 

2007

 

2006

 

 

 

(Dollars in Thousands)

 

Interest expense

 

$

37,325

 

$

36,063

 

$

33,198

 

 

During Fiscal 2008, interest expense represents interest on our $500 million aggregate principal amount of 7¼% senior notes and $3.2 million in amortization of related financing costs and discount, partially offset by $2.2 million capitalized interest on our construction activities for the conversion of the temporary casino structure at Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, the permanent casino at Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino and our Seneca Hickory Stick Golf Course.

 

Interest expense during Fiscal 2007 represents interest on our $500 million aggregate principal amount of 7¼% senior notes and $3.2 million in amortization of related financing costs and discount, partially offset by $3.4 million capitalized interest during the construction phase of our luxury hotel at Seneca Niagara Falls Casino and Hotel and related to construction activities at the Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel.  The increase in interest expense of $2.9 million was due to decreased capitalized interest when compared to Fiscal 2006, due to the substantial completion of construction projects.

 

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Net Income

 

Net income for Fiscal 2008 was $102.6 million, compared to $119.3 million for Fiscal 2007, a decrease of $16.7 million, or 14%, for the reasons stated above.

 

Net income for Fiscal 2007 was $119.3 million, compared to $123.4 million for Fiscal 2006, a decrease of $4.1 million, or 3%, for the reasons stated above.

 

Liquidity and Capital Resources

 

Cash Flows

 

 

 

Year Ended September 30,

 

 

 

2008

 

2007

 

2006

 

 

 

(Dollars in Thousands)

 

Net cash provided by operations

 

158,853

 

179,748

 

181,838

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Investing Cash Flows

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Capital Expenditures