The Seneca Nation will initiate a phased, multi-week reopening process of its three gaming facilities in early June.
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted not only the Seneca Nation’s health system but its economy. With three casinos closed, and nearly 4,000 hospitality employees out of work, the Tribe — one of Western New York’s largest private sector employers — has opted to reduce Tribal members’ annuity payments. CARES funding received couldn’t offset the Tribe’s financial loss to justify not making the cuts.
Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong, Sr. said: “We made the difficult but necessary decision to reduce annuity payments to $500,” from $400-$800, he said. “The reduction will go into effect beginning in July and remain in place through the end of our fiscal year in September. The annuity reductions apply to minors as well, with $250 being distributed and $250 being placed in the minor’s trust fund.”
Meanwhile, Seneca Gaming Corp. today announced the appointment of Chief Financial Officer David Sheridan as interim president and CEO. Former CEO Holly Gagnon, who was named a Native Business Top 30 CEO last year, will step down when her contract expires May 31.
Gagnon said, “It has been a privilege to work with the amazing team members of the Seneca Gaming Corp. these past three years. I am so proud of everything we have accomplished together and am confident this company will thrive when this world gets back to normal. I look forward to spending more time focused on my independent directorship roles, as well as projects related to women in leadership here in Buffalo.”
Since 2017, under Gagnon’s leadership, Seneca Gaming Corp. successfully completed several projects, including the transformative $40 million “Seneca Niagara Arrival Experience” at Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino, the introduction of sports betting at all three of the Seneca Casinos, as well as the redesign of the hotel rooms for the Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino.
“The Seneca Nation is grateful for Holly’s leadership, and we wish her nothing but continued success in the future,” Armstrong said. “David Sheridan has been a trusted and respected leader with Seneca Gaming Corp. for more than a decade. The Nation must continue to plan for the safe and successful reopening of our gaming facilities, which are an important economic engine for the Seneca people. We have every confidence in David’s knowledge, experience and ability to lead our gaming operations forward, in partnership with the company’s board of directors and management team.”