Extended deadline to end in June

New York: Seneca Nation leaders frustrated by stalled gaming compact talks

Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong
Reading time 1:23 min

State lawmakers in New York closed the legislative session in Albany this week without reaching a new gaming compact with the Seneca Nation of Indians.

Seneca Nation leaders, including President Rickey Armstrong, expressed frustration over the stalled negotiations. Armstrong noted that the parties have been in discussions for two years, now extending six months beyond the original expiration date of last December.

“The pace and progress of the process so far, while detailed and deliberate, have been painstaking, frustrating, and disappointing at times. Regardless, we will continue to focus on and work toward a fair new compact that adequately addresses our rights and concerns in the context of today’s growing and changing gaming market. That has been our priority from day one, Armstrong said in a statement.

The current gaming compact, which governs operations at Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino and the tribe's two other casinos in Western New York, was extended in December and is set to expire at the end of June. Armstrong emphasized the importance of reaching a new agreement for the benefit of both the nation and the region.

“Thousands of people, workers, and businesses, as well as local communities in Western New York, depend on our gaming enterprises. Now that the distractions of another budget season and another legislative session have come and gone, we hope the state will fully commit to accelerating the pace of negotiations until we have reached a fair agreement on all compact terms,” he added.

The compact allows the Seneca Nation to operate gaming activities in Niagara and Erie counties and on its reservation in Salamanca, in return for paying the state a percentage of its revenue. The agreement, in place since 2002, is registered with the U.S. Department of the Interior.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said that the state and Seneca leaders “have been working closely together,” with multiple meetings between her and Seneca leadership.

There had been speculation last year about the Seneca Nation considering a casino in the Rochester area, which faced opposition from some political and business groups. However, recent discussions have not confirmed whether this remains part of the new compact negotiations.

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