NYS Launches Arbitration Process on Casino Compact

Seneca leaders say Gov. Cuomo has canceled several meetings

Tom Puckett
September 08, 2017 - 3:37 pm
Some slot machines in the casino

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Buffalo, NY (WBEN) The Seneca Nation says New York has called for arbitration in the casino compact dispute.

Seneca Nation spokesman Phil Pantano says “The Seneca Nation was made aware today that New York State has decided to formally initiate the arbitration process prescribed in the gaming Compact.  This comes as no surprise, given that Governor Cuomo consistently refused to meet with President Gates over the last several months. This follows the same course as the state’s rhetoric. After all, rather than take President Gates’ offer and willingness to meet in person, the Governor repeatedly chose insults, attacks and threats through the media. Now, after canceling scheduled meetings with President Gates on July 27 and August 22, the Governor has decided to proceed with arbitration."

Pantano adds, "The state has a demonstrated history of Compact violations. Now, after threatening to once again violate the Compact, it is abundantly clear that the Governor has no interest in engaging in a meaningful dialogue with the Seneca Nation’s leadership. A review of the State’s Arbitration Demand, released to the media, is telling.  The state cannot point to any language, nor provide any history that supports their interpretation of the revenue sharing provisions.  That is because the Compact language clearly spells out a 14-year obligation, which the Seneca Nation has fulfilled."

Pantano says the nation is seeing "a repeat of the same behavior as when the state previously violated the Compact." 

The state issued filings saying both parties had until August 11, 2016 to object to the renewal of the compact, otherwise it would be automatically renewed for another seven years. The state has received a portion of the Senecas' slot machine revenue since 2002 in exchange for exclusivity rights. The Senecas say their last obligation was met with a $30 million payment in March.

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