In 2002, the Seneca Nation signed a Gaming Compact with the State of New York under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act to establish three “Class III gaming” casino facilities in Western New York.
Since then, the Nation has invested more than $1 billion to develop three world-class gaming destinations – Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino in Niagara Falls, New York; Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino in Salamanca, New York; and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in downtown Buffalo, New York – that attract millions of visitors annually.
The Seneca properties are a regional economic driver, directly providing thousands of well-paying jobs to local workers – most of whom are non-Seneca – while further supporting thousands of additional local jobs through the properties’ extensive utilization of local suppliers and vendors.
Under the 2002 Compact, the Nation agreed to pay a portion of its gaming revenues to New York State in exchange for exclusivity west of State Route 14. The State, in turn, distributed a portion of those funds to local governments. Since 2002, the Nation has sent more than $1 billion in revenue share payments to the State.
At the same time, exclusivity granted to the Seneca Nation was eroded by the authorization of State-owned gaming devices at local raceways and by allowing commercial casinos located on the outskirts of the Nation’s exclusivity area to siphon off Nation casino customers and business. New York’s recent authorization of statewide mobile sports betting has continued the trend of eroding the Nation’s competitive position, this time to the benefit of large national gaming providers with no connection or responsibility to Western New York.
Upon completion of the initial Compact term and the Nation’s revenue share obligation in December 2016, the Compact automatically extended for an additional seven years, with no requirement for continued revenue share payments. The renewal did, however, contain provisions allowing either party to negotiate, prior to renewal, any amendment that they required. The State never sought to extend or renegotiate the revenue sharing provision.
In January 2017, the U.S. Department of Interior, the federal agency responsible for approving State-Tribal Compacts, confirmed in correspondence to the Seneca Nation that its obligation to make payments terminated upon the end of the initial 14-year term of the Compact and that payments beyond that date were not required. (See 2017 DOI Letter)
The Nation and the State of New York have since been involved in a dispute over these payments, with the Nation exercising its legal rights to defend its position, as supported by federal law. (SEE DOI/NIGC Letters)
The Nation has long sought to start negotiations with the State of New York to resolve this dispute and come to agreement on terms of a new Compact in advance of the current Compact’s expiration in 2023. Throughout this process, considerable misinformation and false narratives have been advanced. This website aims to set the record straight, offering visitors the truth about the Nation, its gaming operations and the Compact.
In compliance with the Compact, the Seneca Nation has paid New York State more than $1.7 billion over the past 20 years.
President Pagels provides an important update about the legal dispute with New York State regarding whether the Seneca Nation has fulfilled revenue sharing obligations under the current gaming Compact.
Recently, the Niagara Gazette editorial board, as well as New York’s lieutenant governor, have opined about “fairness” in the context of New York state’s disagreement with the Seneca Nation regarding [...]
The Seneca Nation has issued the following statement in response to a final ruling issued by a three-person arbitration panel stating that the Nation’s slot revenue sharing payment obligation continues [...]
The city of Niagara Falls, NY is approaching financial catastrophe and people are pointing fingers. Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster is blaming the Senecas. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo is [...]
The Seneca Nation has selected a respected Indian Law scholar and former federal official as its designated representative for arbitration proceedings regarding the Nation’s gaming Compact with New York State.