Will the Seneca Nation Comply With Recent Casino Revenue Ruling?

Cities Including Niagara Falls Shouldn't Expect Immediate Windfall

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Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - A ruling this week on Seneca casino revenue may not mean an immediate windfall for cities like Niagara Falls.

A three person arbitration panel found the requirement for the Senecas to share 25 percent of slot-machine revenues renewed when the compact as a whole was automatically renewed for an additional seven years, while the Senecas have argued there is nothing in the agreement that states they must continue to share revenue beyond year 14 of the compact.

"It's not final," said attorney Paul Cambria. "They can refuse to comply and they'll have to go to court."

Cambria said there's good reason for the Senecas to not comply with the arbitrators ruling.

"I wouldn't have them comply," Cambria said. "I think that there's a legal challenge that should occur. There is a special set of rules for Native Americans that the United States Supreme Court has fashioned. If there's any ambiguity in an agreement like a treaty, those ambiguities have to be resolved in favor of the Native Americans."

In this case, it could be argued ambiguity is what led to the need for an arbitration hearing in the first place.

Seneca President Rickey Armstrong Sr. said the nation would review the arbitrators' decision. He did not say whether the Senecas would comply.

The Senecas shared more than $1 billion with the state before they stopped payments in 2016.

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