BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - The head of the Seneca Indians accused Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday of engaging in "playground bully tactics" over their casino disagreement.
Seneca Nation President Barry Snyder sharply criticized Cuomo a day after the governor suggested the Senecas could lose their ability to operate their western New York casinos after their compact expires in 2016.
"Yet again he has chosen a path of playground bully tactics rather than one of maturity, dignity and mutual respect," Snyder said in a prepared statement.
"The Seneca Nation has acted in good faith and negotiated diplomatically but we continue to experience over and over the childish antics of the state's top leader and his advisors."
At issue is more than $500 million in casino payments the Senecas have withheld from the state since 2009. The tribe claims New York violated the compact with the tribe by allowing video slot gambling in its exclusive territory for their casinos in Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Salamanca.
Cuomo has warned that New York's Indian casinos could face competition in their backyards if talks with tribes related to his gambling expansion proposal fail to yield results soon. A public referendum to change New York's constitution to allow non-Indian casinos could be on the ballot as early as November. Cuomo wants to site three casinos in upstate New York.
There was no immediate comment from Cuomo on Snyder's comments.
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