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Seneca Nation Gives Update on Gaming Compact Discussions

As the Seneca Nation of Indians is getting closer to the end of its gaming compact with the State of New York, the tribe is currently working on a new deal. Most recently, President of the Nation, Rickey Armstrong Sr. shared that talks between the tribe representatives and state officials are progressing well. He is hopeful that an agreement can be found before the summer of 2023.

The current gaming compact with the Empire State grants the Seneca Nation of Indians exclusive rights to run Class III casino properties in Western New York. The three facilities are Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino, Seneca Niagara Casino and Resort, and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino and Resort. It should be mentioned that the current contract expires in December 2023.

Talks are Advancing

In a recent interview, Mr. Armstrong commented that representatives of the Nation are continuously meeting with state officials to discuss the new gaming compact. The tribal President said the Nation has put effort into advancing negotiations and remains optimistic that a tentative deal will be struck by the summer of 2023, so the federal government has time to review it.

He continued by noting that the Nation has been working on its end of the proposed compact for approximately two years and he is optimistic that it has covered all of its bases. He also stresses that the tribe’s three casinos operated by Seneca Gaming Corporation have brought economic benefits, such as numerous new jobs and additional investments to their regions.

Via the compact, the tribe shares a percentage of slot machine revenues from its casinos with the state. Currently, the tax rate is set at 25% and the money is reinvested back in Niagara Falls, Buffalo, and Salamanca. That is why Mr. Armstrong is hopeful that the state will realize the positive impact the tribe’s gaming operations have had on Western NY.

In response, a spokesperson for Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office commented that the executive chamber and the state gaming commission have been having substantive talks with the Native American nation for months. The spokesperson said that the state is committed to negotiating a compact that will best serve the people of the Empire State.

Conflict is in the Past

Up until recently, the Seneca Nation of Indians and New York State were in years-long conflict, as the tribe refused to pay its financial obligations to the state. This led to drastic measures from state administration which froze the Nation’s accounts thus stopping it from conducting its business which frustrated the tribe. And thus, eventually paying off its obligations.

In August, Matthew Pagels who will succeed Mr. Armstrong commented that the nation is hopeful to strike a fair new gaming compact with the state. He noted that the state’s gaming scenery has changed drastically since the signing of the first agreement, and said that the nation is as optimistic as possible about the new compact and there is no looking back.

Source: “Seneca Nation president: Casino compact talks progressingYahoo, December 31, 2022