Niagara Gazette

Local News

February 21, 2013

Cuomo visit fails to shed light on casino plan

Niagara Gazette — BUFFALO — Gov. Andrew Cuomo discussed non-Indian casinos in upstate New York during a speech outlining his plans for the state on Thursday.

What he didn’t mention was the ongoing dispute between the state and the Seneca Nation of Indians and the plans for a non-Indian casino right next to the Seneca Niagara Gaming Complex discussed in the press earlier this month.

When asked about rumors of a casino in the Cataract City after the speech, the deft Cuomo gave the same non-committal answer that he did a few months back.

“In parts of the state where we have contractual agreements in good standing we will honor those agreements, primarily with the Indian-run casinos” Cuomo said. “But, the agreements have to be in good standing, which means that the agreements have to be honored by both parties.”

Rumors that the governor was prepared to allow for another casino in the Falls – effectively ensuring no new gaming compact between the state and the Senecas would come about – were circulated in Albany earlier this month and reported by the Buffalo News.

While Cuomo would not confirm the rumors he would not deny the possibility of a new casino for the Falls.

"Everything is still on the table," he said.

The state and the Senecas have been embroiled in a dispute over the exclusivity clause in the 2002 gaming compact for three years. The Senecas argue that state-run “racinos” that exist in the exclusivity zone in Western New York violate the contract and stopped paying the state in 2009. The two parties have entered a binding arbitration which is expected to be settled in the first half of this year.

Cuomo said he doesn’t want to see the state held to an agreement that is not being honored by the Senecas and that the arbitration should play out “over the next few months.”

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