CATTARAUGUS TERRITORY, IRVING, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Seneca Nation is dropping its years-long legal battle with New York State and has agreed to start discussions about a new gaming compact.

A Seneca Nation spokesperson said dropping the legal action against the state will strengthen the future operations of the Nation’s three Western New York casinos.

This agreement means the Seneca Nation will “realize more than $40 million in disputed fees and cost savings over the remaining life of the current Compact.” The compact in place now was signed in 2002 and is set to expire in December 2023.

The Nation said in a news release, it will now resume quarterly casino revenue sharing payments that New York State will return to Buffalo. Niagara Falls and Salamanca. Until now, the payments have been held in escrow throughout the dispute.

“Rather than pursue continued legal action, we believe we can now best address our concerns in a Compact with greater clarity on our obligations, and, as important, the obligations New York State has to the Nation in return,” Seneca Nation President Matthew Pagels said. “Furthermore, we want to see the momentum generated by our investments and operations continue to grow, and we look forward to building on our strong relationships with our neighbors in Niagara Falls, Salamanca and Buffalo. Now is the time to move forward.”

Governor Kathy Hochul told News 4, she’s pleased with the agreement and looks forward to discussing a new compact.

“I am pleased to have reached an agreement for the resumption of payments on terms that serve both the State and the Nation and that benefit Western New York communities, and I look forward to beginning discussions toward a new compact,” Governor Hochul said.  ​

News 4 has reached out to Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown’s office and Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino’s office for comment and is waiting to hear back.

Watch the Seneca Nation’s video announcement below:

Patrick Ryan is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

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