Thu June 13, 2013
Seneca casino deal releases 100 percent of disputed revenues, windfall for localities and state
Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 8:59 pm
The lengthy dispute over casino royalties was resolved in Niagara Falls on Thursday with the signing of new deal between the state of New York and the Seneca Nation of Indians.
This deal is the third in 30 days between the state and upstate Indian nations since the governor launched his initiative to push for additional casinos (or as he calls them "resort destinations"), in upstate.
What's in it for the Seneca? Support from Albany to uphold their rights to run exclusive gaming operations in western New York.
This new deal will deliver $408 million into the state's coffers, and also delivered some much needed fiscal relief to struggling municipalities.
Niagara Falls will receive $89 million in the settlement, Salamanca $34.5 million and the City of Buffalo, $15.5 million.
A compact over the division of gaming revenues had been put in place in 2002, but broke down over a dispute about "racino" operations in Seneca territory in 2005.
Since then around $600 million has built up in an escrow account, and local governments who are heavily dependent on that income have struggled while the dispute labored through arbitration.