Seneca Nation of Indians to Discuss State Violations of Gaming Compact

State Finally Commits to Discuss Long Standing Compact Disputes After Years of Neglect

Oct 06, 2010, 18:11 ET from Seneca Nation of Indians

CATTARAUGUS TERRITORY, IRVING, N.Y., Oct. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- The Seneca Nation of Indians recently received two separate letters from New York State officials invoking Class III Gaming Compact procedures to discuss payments the Nation has withheld for two years. The Compact provides that the Nation shall reimburse the State only for reasonable State regulatory costs incurred in connection with gaming regulation under the Compact, and that the Nation will pay to the State a percentage of slot machine proceeds in exchange for slot machine exclusivity within Western New York.

New York State has been in violation of its Class III Gaming Compact with the Seneca Nation for over two years, authorizing Moxie Mania at private businesses and introducing slot machines at the State's racetrack casinos in the Nation's exclusivity zone (west of State Route 14).  The State has also been in violation of the Compact nearly since its adoption in 2002 for excessive and unreasonable State Police charges.

"I have no idea why the State violated our Compact, and no idea why it took the Governor's Office 9 months to agree to discuss the State's breach of the Compact terms," said President Barry E. Snyder, Sr. said.  "We certainly look forward to hearing the explanation of why they violated our Compact."

In a January of 2010, the Seneca Nation advised the Governor's office that the operation of certain gaming devices within Western New York violated the Nation's right of exclusivity under the Compact and, thus, jeopardized the State's ability to continue to receive the very substantial "State Contribution" payments under the Compact.  The Nation invited a dialogue on the matter, but never heard back.

In late August of 2010, the Nation's Council adopted a resolution directing that all exclusivity funds being held by the Nation are to be withheld from payment to the State.  

The Compact provides that the Nation is authorized to withhold all payments to the State upon a breach of the Nation's exclusivity and has done so since 2009.  The Compact also provides that the State cannot terminate the Compact until there has been a determination by an arbitration panel that there has been an uncured material breach.  

"We look forward to a visit by State officials to Western New York to discuss these very important matters," Snyder stated.  "Perhaps through this process we can also get some simple and timely back up documentation that can explain precisely what it is that the New York State Police gaming unit does under the Compact."

The State's refusal to provide funding to local governments in Western New York, because of the exclusivity violation, has also created financial hardships for these local communities.  On Sept 30, 2010, the Seneca Nation invited representatives of the local governments to attend a meeting on Oct 8, 2010 to discuss the issues and concerns surrounding their inability to get funding from Albany to cover part of the looming budgetary gaps they face, and other potential solutions.  

Media Contact:

Sharon Linstedt

Travers Collins & Company


716-480-3068 (cell)

SOURCE Seneca Nation of Indians