Seneca Nation Tries to Receive Public Support and Continue Casino Operations in New York

Seneca Nation Tries to Receive Public Support and Continue Casino Operations in New YorkThe Seneca Nation announced that it is to hold various public initiatives throughout May in a bid to win community support and secure a new gaming compact with the Empire State. If the tribe manages to convince the state to renew its gaming compact, which expires in December, its three gambling properties in Salamanca, Buffalo, and Niagara Falls will continue operating. The initiatives will continue for a month, kicking off on Thursday at Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino, where the public can sign support letters from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the resort’s hotel lobby.

The Seneca Nation to Hold Several Public Support Events

The Seneca Nation has been negotiating with state officials for several months, aiming to secure a new gaming compact with the state before the State Legislature session ends on June 8. To gain public support, the tribe has announced that it will organize community support events throughout May, the first of which to kick off today at Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino. People can sign support letters between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the resort’s hotel lobby.

Other community support events are to take place on Friday at the William Seneca Building in Irving, May 11 at the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in Buffalo, May 12 at the Seneca Allegany Administration Building, and May 18 at the Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino in Salamanca, all from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The tribe also encourages people to visit the website and sign an online petition that will be handed to state officials in Albany along with the support letters.

Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong Sr. said that people are aware of the tribe’s contribution to Western New York and urged them to show their support for the Seneca Nation. He added that many families and businesses rely on the Seneca Nation’s gambling operations to make their living. Armstrong explained that lawmakers are almost done working on the state budget, and now it is time to finish negotiations with the tribe and secure a fair gaming compact.

The Relation between the Tribe and the State Had Been Strained in the Past

The Seneca Nation signed its gaming compact with the state of New York in 2002. Since then, the tribe has invested about $2 billion in its three casinos. Nowadays, the three tribal-owned gambling facilities employ over 3,000 people.

The Seneca Nation also supports local businesses, spending approximately $600 million annually with over 6,000 vendors. The tribe contributes pumps over $1.1 billion into Western New York’s economy. Revenue generated from Seneca Nation’s businesses is directed towards various services and programs.

Although it seems that the tribe has all the chances to secure a gaming compact with New York, the two parties had some arguments in the past. In 2017, the tribe notified the state that it had made its final payment under the gaming compact negotiated in 2002 and withheld revenue-sharing payments to New York.

In 2021, a federal appeals court ruled that the Seneca Nation owes $435 million to the state. In 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the state reached an agreement with Seneca Nation, according to which the tribe paid $564 million in outstanding casino revenue payments.