Niagara Gazette — Seneca Nation of Indians President Barry Snyder Sr. on Friday issued a statement in response to comments linked earlier in the week to Gov. Andrew Cuomo who suggested the state of New York may soon end its gaming relationship the Senecas.
Snyder characterized Cuomo's comments as "another symptom of the unfortunately strained relationship" between the two parties, saying Cuomo has "yet again" chosen a path of "playground bully tactics rather than one of maturity, dignity and mutual respect."
Snyder's statements followed Cuomo's assertion on Thursday that the state may not extend the Seneca Nation's gaming compact, which expires in 2016. Cuomo, citing the Indian nation's decision to suspend payments of slot machine revenues owed to both the state and host municipalities like Niagara Falls, said "under the circumstances" he found it difficult to believe "any state official" would support extending the terms of the current deal.
The comments came during an event in which Cuomo announced that the state has reached an agreement with the Oneida Indian Nation that will allow it to enjoy exclusive gaming rights in Central New York in exchange for settling an outstanding land claim and paying the state 25 percent of slot revenues from Turning Stone Casino.
In his statement released Friday, Snyder suggested Cuomo's comments amounted to a threat against workers who are currently employed at Seneca-owned casinos in Western New York.
"Apparently, he fails to see the error of his ways lauding job creation and stability throughout the state while at the same time threatening the economic security of thousands of hard working families in Western New York employed by the Nation or its vendors," Snyder said.
Snyder, citing sections 11, 12 and 17 of the Compact, said it is the state's responsibility to compensate host communities like Niagara Falls and Salamanca, both of which are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the lost slot machine revenue.