Industry Reports

Casino Money Conversation with Seneca Nation Is Over, Says Gov. Cuomo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently shared his position on important issues to the likes of Seneca Nation of Indians and the missing gaming revenue allocations. He confirmed that the conversation between the state and the Native American tribe has come to an end, as the debate is now a legal one. Gov. Cuomo also expressed his position that right now it seems like the tribe wants to avoid paying the US$255,877,747.44 whatsoever.

This week saw Gov. Cuomo speak to the press at the Officers Clubโ€™s event at Fort Niagara. He announced some US$49 million would fund projects striving to rebuild and control flooding along the Lake Ontario shoreline. Along with that, he used the tribune to talk about the controversial topics directly impacting three casino host communities, as well as motorists using Thruway on a regular basis.

Taking Matters to Federal Court Put an End to Convo

Gov. Cuomo devoted his time to the financial struggles three tribal casino host communities face. Niagara Falls, NY would receive an overall US$12.3 million in cash advance since it no longer could rely on gaming revenue allocations generated by Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino. It could be recalled that the beginning of 2017 saw casino money payments come to a complete halt, as the Native American tribe reached its 14th year of casino management.

Seneca Nation of Indians argued that its compact does not mandate continued allocations past that year. However, Niagara Falls along with Salamanca and Buffalo already feel the impact of lack of payment. Gov. Cuomo confirmed that the state would support Niagara Falls with the amount that would cover deficiencies in the 2020 budget.

This year saw the city receive another US$12 million covering the insufficient casino revenue support, but city coffers were about to run dry by July. Up until March 2017, host communities received 25 percent of the gaming revenue generated ultimately bagging a combined CA$1 billion. Gov. Cuomo made it clear that at this point, there is no conversation happening between the state and Seneca Nation of Indians.

Three Communities Struggle

From his point of view, earlier this year the discussions attempting to arrange mutually beneficial conditions for all parties involved eyed a happy ending to this saga. While they were in progress, Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino, Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, and Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino continued operation without allocating support. Gov. Cuomo also added that matters have reached federal court, there is no place for further discussion.

For him, the Native American tribe does not want to support its host communities anymore. The year 2023 would see the expiration of the existing compact, opening conversation of a new one. At the moment, the New York State Thruway Authority reviews the slice of Thruway running through Seneca Nationโ€™s territory. Director Matthew Driscoll said that the underlying concrete baseโ€™s condition was worse than initially projected, following years of neglect.

The initial plan for action envisioned stabilizing the riding surface of the road stretch, as well as improving lane visibility in the upcoming weeks. As the evaluation mandated, such actions would have to take place in the spring following a bidding process choosing a contractor. Until then, the areas in worsened condition would be subjected to roadworks ahead of the winter months.