The Seneca Nation of Indians has announced that it would no longer pay a hefty $110 million to Albany effective next week. This has been a recent development after a setting up a confrontation with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. A portion of the money goes to host casino communities in Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Salamanca. The decision made by Seneca Nation came in this Wednesday to the Cuomo administration, state lawmakers as well as the local government officials.
However, reacting to stop the payment, the Senecas has to say that they are abiding by the terms of the compact the tribe signed in 2002 to share a quarter of slot machine revenues with the tribe earned at the three casinos. Todd Gates, Seneca President in a statement said, “The Seneca Nation has followed the terms of our gaming compact since 2002 and we will continue to do so until it expires in 2023. As written in the compact, the Nation provided a share of our revenue to the state through the end of last year.”
Nearly $1.5 billion over so many years have been paid by the Seneca to the state. The apparent reason of this move is supposed to be the drop in revenue. The move made has stunned the state officials but the Seneca officials insisted the state should have predicted that some day the revenues would stop. However, the Seneca president is optimistic about developing some sort of arrangement with localities, who are affected by the drop in revenue sharing payments. Gates said, “Although the revenue share has ended, we remain committed to being good neighbours in the communities where we have gaming facilities and we look forward to working directly with them to continue the economic progress of Western New York.”
Niagara Falls is expected to encounter the biggest impact of the decision at local level. Niagara city received more than $20 million in annual revenue payments shared by from the local casinos. The decision to stop payment came as Cuomo and lawmakers were just ahead of finalising the final draft of the 2017-18 state budget.
The Cuomo administration on the night of the declaration straight forwardly rejected any such claims made by the Seneca Nation. According to Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi, Cuomo administration still holds the payment structure intact as mentioned under the original compact and the 2013 memorandum of understanding signed by Cuomo and the tribe. Richard Azzopardi said, “it’s clear, this payment structure remains in place.”