The Seneca Nation of Indians says it will settle its dispute with the state over payments it makes to the state from its casinos, but says it wants a new gaming compact with the state in return.
Syracuse.com reports under the agreement, the Senecas will pay the state $500 million it’s withheld since the dispute began in 2017. The money has been held in escrow. The Nation will also resume making quarterly payments to the state. The state receives about $100 million per year from slot and video lottery machine revenues at the Nation’s casinos in Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Salamanca in Cattaraugus County. The money goes to the state, which then sends a portion to each casino’s host city.
In a statement, Governor Kathy Hochul said “I am pleased to have reached an agreement for the resumption of payments on terms that serve both the State and the Nation and that benefit Western New York communities, and I look forward to beginning discussions toward a new compact.”
The Senecas operate the casinos under a compact signed with the state in 2002. The dispute began in 2017, when the Senecas said the compact only required payments for a period of 14 years.
An arbitration panel backed the state in 2019 and multiple court rulings have also backed the state’s position.