As the Seneca Nation of Indians and New York State negotiate a new gaming compact, State Senator George Borrello has introduced legislation to authorize the State Comptroller to review tribal-state compacts.
The legislation would authorize the Comptroller to recommend approval or needed changes.
With the compact set to expire at the end of 2023, the Seneca Nation has been pushing to get a new compact signed before the state legislature’s session ends on June 8.
Borrello cited the need for this change by pointing to current negotiations between the Seneca Nation and the Hochul administration. He noted that although the Governor has recused herself from compact negotiations because of the conflict of interest presented by her husband’s position with a company in competition with the Seneca Nation, she is still the only official that can approve the contract.
The original Seneca Nation Compact was authorized in 2002. The agreement cleared the way for the development of three Seneca casinos in Western New York. The Seneca Niagara Casino opened in 2002, followed by the Salamanca location in 2004 and the Buffalo location in 2007. Terms of the compact included the Seneca Nation paying 25%, which is approximately $100 million a year, of the slot and video lottery machine revenues to the state, with a portion of that directed to each casino’s host city. In return, the compact grants the Nation exclusive rights to operate Class III casinos in Western New York.
The casinos and their related businesses have an estimated $1 billion annual economic impact on Western New York and provide more than 6,000 jobs.