Buffalo Business First, a leading weekly business news publication in Western New York, has chosen Seneca Gaming Corporation as one of the region’s “Most Admired Companies” for 2013. The publication asked readers, businesses and its staff to make suggestions and nominations, and selected 21 companies in the region based on factors such as growth, success, diversity and contributions to the local community.

Since opening Seneca Niagara Casino on December 31, 2002, Seneca Gaming Corporation has grown into one of the largest private sector employers in Western New York. Today, the company employs more than 3,900 workers at its three casino entertainment properties – Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel in Niagara Falls, Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel in Salamanca and the new Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in downtown Buffalo.

The combined annual payroll of the Seneca casino properties is more than $100 million. In addition to good-paying jobs, employees of Seneca Gaming Corporation receive generous benefits, such as access to a free Team Dining Room and Fitness Center, both open 24 hours a day. The progressive company has many additional healthy initiatives, such as diabetes prevention and smoking cessation programs, as well as a health office with services offered free-of-charge, with no need for co-payments or insurance.

Over the past 11 years, the company and its owner, the Seneca Nation of Indians, have also helped to drastically change the economic development landscape in Western New York, completing more than $1 billion worth of construction projects at its casino properties and the award-winning Seneca Hickory Stick Golf Course in Lewiston, N.Y. The company spends more than $100 million per year with local vendors and suppliers. In fact, local partnerships have taken center stage at the newly-opened Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, where the company has partnered with some of the most notable eateries in the area to create the menu for its Buffalo Savors Grill restaurant. There, customers can feast on signature Western New York items, such  as chicken wings from Duff’s Famous Wings, beef-on-weck from Charlie the Butcher, Italian sandwiches with family-recipe sauces from Ilio DiPaolo’s, pizza from Franco’s Pizza, desserts and pastries from Chrusciki Bakery, and gelato from Sweet Melody’s.

“We have been extremely fortunate to have been at the forefront of an exciting era of economic rebirth in Western New York,” said Kevin W. Seneca, chairman of the Seneca Gaming Corporation board of directors. “Our employees, our business partners and the millions of guests we have welcomed over the past 11 years have helped us build a foundation of success and excitement that we hope to carry forward for years to come.”

Awards and recognition have been a hallmark for the 11-year gaming corporation. Its two resort properties – Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel in Niagara Falls and Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel in Salamanca – have earned the prestigious AAA Four Diamond Award for each consecutive year since 2006 and 2009, respectively. Only 3.8 percent of the 59,000 AAA Diamond-Rated establishments throughout North America and the Caribbean earn the prestigious AAA Four Diamond rating for upscale accommodations and outstanding guest service, and the Seneca casino resorts represent two of only three such designated hotels in all of Western New York.

“We want guests to view our properties, and to view Western New York, as a premier entertainment destination,” said Cathy Walker, president and CEO, Seneca Gaming Corporation. “That goal goes beyond brick and mortar. Not only do we strive to make the quality of our games, hotels, restaurants, amenities and other aspects of our operation world-class, but we also take the same approach to the quality of service our guests experience every time they walk through our doors. That is the true difference-maker. Our people are, without question, the best in the business.”

For all of its business success, Seneca Gaming Corporation has placed a decided emphasis on giving back to the community. In 2012, a $1 million neighborhood beautification fund assisted more than a dozen local businesses and causes in Buffalo near Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino.

The company also donated $1.275 million to Niagara County Community College towards the creation of the Culinary Institute in downtown Niagara Falls.

Seneca Gaming Corporation also donates hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to local charities throughout Western New York. Through the company-sanctioned Team Seneca Cares program, team members can earn a paid day off by volunteering for and/or contributing to a minimum of eight community causes and events throughout the year.

“This is our home,” Seneca said. “Western New York steps up to help community causes. That is part of the inherent culture that makes Western New York a special place and it’s part of who we are as a community, as a company, and as individuals.”