SALAMANCA, N.Y. (WIVB) - Several community organizations in Salamanca have been told to stop using a fundraising tool they rely on for much of their income.
The Seneca Gaming Authority, which operates the nearby Seneca Allegany Casino, sent cease and desist orders to Salamanca's American Legion, VFW, and Holy Cross Athletic Club, demanding they stop selling "pull tabs," all dated October 21.
VFW Post 5296 Commander Danny Williams said, "We really don't know exactly what the Seneca Gaming Authority is asking us for. The people in Salamanca's Seneca Gaming Authority [office] didn't seem to know much about it. This letter came from Niagara Falls."
All three of the groups say they have proper paperwork from New York State and the city to sell the pull tabs, which they've been selling for at least 30-years. The American Legion and VFW sent those documents to the Seneca Gaming Authority.
Both commanders say the money from pull tabs sales is essential for their survival. It pays for their buildings as well as the civic, educational, political and social functions they host for the Salamanca community.
Williams said, "We use the pull tab money for basically the same programs that basically any other veterans organization uses them for, and it's all for good, it isn't like we're making a whole lot of money, we're just trying to help the veterans of the United States."
American Legion Commander Dennis Burger added, "If we didn't have this income, we wouldn't be able to pay our bills. And eventually, we would run out of money and we would have to close."
Williams says the VFW did stop selling pull tabs, but only for one day. After speaking with Senator Cathy Young and Salamanca Mayor Carmen Vecchiarella, the post has resumed sales.
"We're just waiting to see what happens next, I guess," he said.
We contacted the Seneca Gaming Authority, but they have not responded.
A spokesman for Governor Andrew Cuomo's office says this has nothing to do with the exclusivity agreements between the Seneca and New York State and is instead related to federal Indian gaming laws.
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