Seneca Nation ordered to resume making casino revenue payments to state, panel rules

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The majority of people serving on a panel of arbitrators hearing a dispute between the state and the Seneca Nation of Indians over casino revenue payments has ruled in favor of New York.

In 2002, the state and the Seneca Nation signed a gaming compact set to expire in 2023. The compact details how much money the Seneca Nation was to give to the state in the agreement’s first 14 years.

In those years, Seneca officials say $1.4 billion was given to the state. Some of that money goes back to places like Buffalo and Niagara Falls, which have Seneca casinos.

What the compact did not specify, is how much the state is to be given after the first 14 years.

Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong, Sr. says that with the panel’s ruling, payments will continue to be made to the state, although the 14 years have passed.

““Despite the panel finding that the Compact, as written, simply does not address the topic of revenue share beyond Year 14, a majority of the panel members determined that an obligation exists to continue revenue share payments to the State,” Armstrong said.

“The panel’s new provision rewrites the compact in a way that harms the Nation and provides an unjustified windfall to the state,” dissenting Arbitration Panel member Kevin Washburn said.

The Seneca Nation says its casino operations employ more than 4,000 people.

To read Armstrong’s full statement, as well as how Mayor Byron Brown, Mayor Paul Dyster, Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen, and State Senator Rob Ortt are responding, click on this link. 

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