Seneca Leaders Sound Off On State Casino Threat

4:13 PM, May 17, 2013   |    comments
Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls, NY.
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West Seneca, NY - Just as the Seneca Nation celebrated its tradition of sovereignty with the observance of the Buffalo Creek Treaty of 1842 with the U.S. government, their leader responded somewhat to Governor Cuomo's talk of a possible private casino in Niagara Falls that could compete with the Seneca operation in that city.

Seneca Nation President Barry E. Snyder Sr. says the casino market will be at "saturation" when their new full-scale Buffalo Creek Casino comes on line later this year in downtown Buffalo. That will be in addition to their casinos in the Falls and Salamanca.

The Senecas and the state have been feuding since 2009 over their decision not to pay over $500 million dollars in compensation to the state and host communities of Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Salamanca. The Governor Cuomo had discussed the idea of another private casino in the Falls. Some see it as political pressure to force the Senecas to give in.

The Senecas maintain the state unfairly introduced competition already, and violated their agreement with the state, by introducing gaming machines in local racetracks.

Now the Seneca Nation President claims the deck is stacked against any private casino operators because of that market saturation. 

Snyder says, "Economics don't play in that thing. I mean if you're gonna be investing in a casino as I look at it, from the numbers I know the cannibalization part would be just too much. You wouldn't do anything because we don't have what other casinos might have...requirements as far as the type of taxes and all the other things that the state can grab onto 'em for. And they won't be able to operate with what they have."

The Senecas and the state are involved in arbitration on this matter and there was hope in the past that a negotiated settlement could be worked out. But some lawmakers expect the Governor will push the private casino plan for the Falls and other communities in June.

Now the Senecas also point to their territorial sovereignty and today celebrated the signing of the Buffalo Creek Treaty of 1842 with the U.S. Government. They say that allows them to run their businesses without taxing interference from the state of New York. Obviously Albany leaders feel their casino compact with the Senecas requires payments.   

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