New York and Seneca Nation to Meet with Arbitration Over Gambling Revenue Payments

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants the Seneca Nation, owners of three casinos in the state, to continue sharing their gambling revenue. The state and tribe have agreed to meet with an arbitration panel in mid-December to discuss their gaming agreement and a possible revenue share resolution.

According to the Seneca Nation, its compact with the state of New York only secured gaming revenue payments through 2016. The tribe waited until the middle of 2017 to cease payments. Now, communities that depended on the revenue to meet their budget requirements are struggling.

Gov. Cuomo contracted the mayor of Salamanca, Michael Smith, last much to find out how much his city was expecting to receive from the Seneca Nation. Smith knew the answer off the top of his head – $9 million. A representative from Gov. Cuomo's office assured Smith that if the arbitration goes in favor of the tribe, the revenue Salamanca needs will be included in the state budget.

This is not the first time Salamanca has suffered from a dispute between the tribe and the state. The city was forced to lay off over dozens of city employees including first responders and police a few years ago when the tribe ceased payments over a breach of the compact.

At the time, the state had allowed racetracks in Hamburg, and Canandaigua to expand their gaming floors. The Seneca told the state the racinos infringed on their exclusivity agreement. The state responded by forcing the racetracks to remove the word casino from their signs and advertising. The state was also forced to accept a much smaller revenue share from the Seneca casinos. 

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