Niagara Gazette

Local News

May 9, 2013

Cuomo gambles on tough casino stance

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Cuomo stressed that casinos could bring desperately needed economic activity to parts of upstate New York that have been struggling for generations.

But the state for generations has had only mixed success in dealing with Indian issues and it was unclear if the governor's latest attempt would work. Even Cuomo, citing long-simmering issues with the Mohawks and Senecas, said he was dubious.

"We respect the governor's comments today on the complexities of the issues, and we are engaged in a constructive dialogue with his administration," Ray Halbritter, Oneida Nation Representative, said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for the Senecas said they were abiding by the gag order set by arbitrators and could not comment. A Mohawk spokesman said the tribe had not had enough time to review the issues brought up by Cuomo to comment right away.

Cuomo hopes to strike a casino deal soon with the Legislature, which is scheduled to end it regular session June 20.

Under the governor's proposal, potential casino sites would be identified by a special selection committee. No casinos would be located in New York City for at least five years to give upstate operations a better chance to thrive, Cuomo said.

"A New York City franchise would eat at the buffet table of the upstate casinos," he said.

Host localities and counties in the region around new casinos would split 20 percent of the government's revenue, with the state getting the rest. The state uses gambling revenue for education aid.

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