New York Governor ups the ante in a Seneca Nation casino dispute

  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo threatening to break the casino compact with the Seneca Nation Indians
  • The dispute was caused by the Seneca Nation failing to meet their monthly obligations to the state

The Seneca Nation Indians and the state of New York have been in a dispute over casino payments for some time now.

The tribe is refusing to pay what they are supposed to pay according to the compact with the state, and Governor Andrew Cuomo seems to have had enough.
Seneca Niagara New York
Cuomo is now threatening with the dissolution of the compact if the Seneca Nation don’t pay what they owe.

New casino a real possibility

Back in 2002, New York State signed a compact with the tribe, allowing them the exclusive right to operate a casino in the Western part of New York until 2023.

However, the compact is contingent on monthly payments by the casino, the last of which was delivered in March of this year. In light of this, Cuomo has made it clear that the state is looking into the possibility of granting a new casino license for a venue that would be located in the Niagara Falls region and wouldn’t be operated by the Seneca Nation.

As Governor Como explains, casino licenses are a highly valued commodity and many companies have spent a lot of money and put forth ample efforts to try and secure a franchise in the state of New York.

Seneca Indians refusing to cave

Right now, the situation appears to be in a virtual stalemate, as the Nation refuses to cave in facing Cuomo’s threats. According to Todd Gates, Seneca President, these kinds of threats on people’s livelihoods are unprofessional and not the way to conduct business.

Gates also emphasizes that the governor refused to meet him in person and discuss the burning issue, despite numerous attempts and schedule meetings that were cancelled.

However, Cuomo believes that a meeting at this time would be inappropriate as there is an ongoing investigation by the district attorney office, looking into allegations of the Seneca Gaming Authority eavesdropping state officials during their last year’s visit to the Buffalo casino.

The Seneca Nation Indians and their representative Dennis Vacco see this as a weak excuse to avoid difficult negotiations. According to Vacco, there was no eavesdropping of any sort and the information leaked straight from the Governor’s Office.

In addition to all the political turmoil, the Tribe also emphasizes that opening a new land-based casino would jeopardize the livelihood of some 4,000 individuals employed by the Buffalo casino. However, Cuomo is convinced that a new casino, operated by one of the leading gambling companies, would create even more job positions.

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