Casino Funds Disbersed In Ny

08.01.13 | Bob Price

The two started in Niagara Falls, which got the lion's share of $89 million.  “By working together and both sides coming to the table in the spirit of collaboration and respect, the State and Seneca Nation of Indians were able to end years of dispute and reach an agreement that is a major victory for all parties involved,” Governor Cuomo said. “Today we are delivering a much needed payment to the City of Niagara Falls, restoring funding that will be a critical help to the local community. This agreement marks the beginning of a new chapter between the Seneca Nation of Indians, the City of Niagara Falls, and New York State, built on trust and mutual respect and I thank President Snyder for his partnership.”

Seneca Nation of Indians President Barry Snyder said, "We have been very successful building a billion dollar gaming business right here in Western New York, with our Seneca Niagara, Seneca Allegany and Seneca Buffalo Creek facilities. In the process, we have created thousands of jobs for Senecas and non-Senecas alike, and have become an important business partner for several local companies, thereby supporting thousands of additional jobs in the local economy. On behalf of the Seneca Nation, we appreciate the Governor’s continued commitment to the economic revitalization of Western New York and recognizing the Seneca Nation’s gaming enterprises as an important component for continuation of our region’s growth and transformation.”

Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster said, “For years, our friends, New York State and the Seneca Nation of Indians, have been at odds over casino gaming revenues. Thankfully Governor Cuomo is no stranger to the issues facing communities in Western New York, and he has worked to ensure an amicable resolution to this longstanding conflict. I am very appreciative of the Governor's involvement in helping to bring about an end to the years of disagreement, and look forward to working with him and the Seneca Nation to strengthen this new partnership.”

Buffalo is receiving $15.5 million from the deal. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, “Buffalo and New York State have certainly had their differences with the Seneca in the past, but thankfully we have reached a new chapter in our relationship. Delivering this funding to city government represents the start of a new partnership with our community and the Seneca Nation, and I am excited for the possibilities that come with it. Governor Cuomo should be commended for his work to make this agreement happen.”

The Salamanca area will receive $34.5 million.

As part of the agreement, New York State and the Seneca Nation will equally split 75% of $560 million in past payments from Seneca casino operations in Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Salamanca. The total to New York State and local governments from these and other regulatory payments is $408 million. The Seneca Nation will retain $209 million and resume their on-going payments from casino operations to the State totaling about $135 million annually.

As part of the agreement, the Upstate NY Gaming Economic Development Act, signed yesterday by the Governor, included the exclusion of the Western New York Zone from the bidding for any commercial gaming legislation. The State will enforce the Western New York exclusivity zone for casino gaming, and a new dispute resolution process will be put in place to deal amicably with future disagreements. The Seneca recognize the right of the existing video lottery facilities at racetracks in Western New York to continue to operate and the State Gaming Commission will take steps to enforce exclusivity rules in the marketing and operation of those facilities.