The Seneca Nation of Indians agrees to a Deal with New York State
For many years a dispute has been raging between the Seneca Tribe of Nations and New York State.
The Seneca tribe owns and operates 3 casinos, one in Niagara Falls, one in Buffalo and another in Salamanca, all of which are obliged to pay a large portion of their revenue to the state for license fees and tax. In return for these payments the tribe expected exclusivity legal gambling in the area.
Another source of revenue for the state has always been the takings from race courses. Attendance at race courses has been in decline for a long time and with the extension of the internet many faced serious losses. So the licensing of slot machine parlors at “racinos” was first mooted, introduced and has now rolled out to include 9 in the State with the governor considering further options. In addition some of these racinos are wishing to expand from slot machine parlors to the inclusion of table gambling, such as Blackjack, Roulette, Craps, Baccarat and Poker.
But the Seneca tribe contended that their exclusivity was breached and held up the payment of $630 Million to the state. This was off course a big blow as the Seneca Niagara Casino is the biggest in the State with over 3,000 slot machines and over 100 tables in operation. In 2002 the Seneca made a deal, signed off by the governor at the time for exclusive gambling rights in 14 counties in New York State for 20 years (until 2023) in return for which they would share the revenue with the state.
With the start of slot machines being licensed in racetracks within these counties the Seneca stopped paying its share of the revenue over to the state, an amount which has grown over the years to be over 600 million.
This dispute has dragged on now for years with neither side backing down, racinos are expanding their operations with Aqueduct in New York City, which opened in October rapidly climbing to the top with almost $10m a week turning over on the course and in the machines.
Well the dispute is finally over with the New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo and the president of the Seneca Nations, Barry E Snyder, Jr announced that a deal had been stuck whereby the dispute was resolved and the revenues would henceforth be paid over.
The $630 mil would now be split into three potions. Each casino would receive a a split of 25% of the revenue, thus Niagara Falls would get $89 mill, Salamanca $34.5 mil and Bufalo $15,5 mil.
The Salamanca nation would get $210 Mil and New York State would finally receive $210 million. In addition the tribes will now resume their regular payments from the casinos to New York State up to $135 million a year and their exclusivity rights in the 14 counties would remain intact.
The racinos already operating in the tribes’ area would be allowed to remain operational with some restrictions but no further expansion or licenses will be allowed.