NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - You can't miss the big new sign shining over Niagara Falls, USA. It was lit Monday night and it's just the beginning of some big changes at the Seneca Niagara Casino.
Officials held the ceremonial "flipping of the switch" around 9:30 p.m. on Monday. The 108-foot wide screen atop the Falls casino cost about $2 million and will be running continually to catch the attention of all the tourists on the Canadian side, letting them know their is a casino on the U.S. side for them to come to.
Seneca Gaming Corporation Chairman Robert Mele said, "This is really correcting an oversight that's been in existence since we opened the casino back in 2005. There's been nothing on that side of the building facing the Falls, facing the Canadian side, to tell people what we have here."
But not everyone is thrilled with the new screen, especially at the upscale Giacomo Hotel a couple of blocks away from the casino.
GM Jeff Deming said, "We have had a little bit of guest feedback so far. And I will confess it hasn't been all positive. A lot of our guests and tenants, they travel a lot. They can stay anywhere in the world they like. They pick the American side because of the natural beauty. The Canadian side is more of a circus. [The sign] just seems a little out of place. They just say, 'Hey, I think that would fit better on the Canadian side.'"
From Goat Island in Niagara Falls State Park, tourists had mixed reactions about the sign.
West Seneca resident Jake Bacher said, "I think it's great. It's definitely good advertising. It'll catch the Canadian side."
Amy Lushine, who comes from Minnesota, said, "My first thoughts were kind of looked a little trashy, kind of cheapened the area a little bit. So, that was just my first reaction."
Mele responded, "Unfortunately, we can't please everybody. But again, we're here to do the best we can in our business and contribute as much as we can to the growth and development of western New York."
The casino is able to change whatever is displayed on the screen nearly instantaneously. Tuesday night, during a fireworks display, the casino will also show fireworks on the 108-foot screen and a "Happy 4th of July" message.
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