After several months of discussions, on June 7, the Seneca Nation of Indians revealed that it had struck an agreement in principle with New York State on the newest 20-year casino gaming compact to continue managing casinos for the next 20 years. In addition, the tribe’s current compact, which has been in effect since 2002, is scheduled to expire on December 9 of this year.
For the Seneca Nation, this new compact is a huge step, especially after acknowledging that “these negotiations have been contentious at times.” It also added: “We reached a framework deal early Wednesday afternoon, although they have not released any major details yet.”
Furthermore, during a brief press conference, President Rickey Armstrong, Jr. said: “The specific terms will be finalized in the next few days. The negotiating parties hope to move as quickly as possible.”
The biggest profit generator for the tribe:
The three casinos managed by the Seneca Nation in New York bring in the most profits for the tribe. The state and the cities where the casinos are located have got approximately $2 billion as part of the profit-sharing agreement. However, those payments were a major point of contention and litigation during the final third of the compact.
Furthermore, until today it seemed uncertain that an agreement would be reached before the end of the state legislative session. In this regard, Armstrong said: “Negotiating a fair compact was critical to the future of the Seneca Nation and the future of Western New York. Throughout the negotiations, our focus remained on arriving at a fair equitable deal that secured the future of our gaming operations, the final funding for our operations that provide critical services for our people and a significant jobs and economic benefits it generates in Western New York.”
The governor must approve the compact:
The Legislature must give the governor’s office permission to sign off on the compact before they leave this week or they will have to come back. Additionally, Gov. Kathy Hochul pulled out of the talks because her husband works for Seneca’s gaming competitor Delaware North, but in the end, she will have to approve it. In this regard, in a brief statement, the spokesperson of her office said: “We are pleased they have reached an agreement in principle that serves the interest of both parties and benefits Western New York communities.”
After that, citizens of the Seneca Nation must validate the compact in a referendum, and Armstrong says “the next several weeks will be used to educate them about the specifics.” And the last thing is review and validation by the federal department of the interior.