Another Temporary Extension Set To Take Place As Seneca Still Searches For Permanent Compact

Written By Grant Lucas on June 12, 2024
Businessmen sign contracts for a story on the Seneca Nation of Indians looking for a new gaming compact with New York.

New York lawmakers have adjourned for the summer, and the Seneca Nation of Indians are still without a permanent gaming compact.

After the initial agreement expired in December, the tribe and state officials agreed to implement a temporary extension of the deal once each quarter as long as a new compact is not in place. An extension renewal occurred in March, and another is expected to take effect June 30.

And with the Seneca still without a locked-in deal, Seneca President Rickey Armstrong Sr. continued to voice his displeasure.

“The pace and progress of the process so far, while detailed and deliberate, have been painstaking, frustrating, and disappointing at times,” Armstrong said in a statement.

“Regardless, we will continue to focus on and work toward a fair new Compact that adequately addresses our rights and concerns in the context of today’s growing and changing gaming market. That has been our priority from day one.”

Seneca, New York officials still far apart on new compact

For years, New York and the Seneca Nation have been at odds over the gaming compact for the tribe, which operates Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel, Seneca Allegany Casino, and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino.

When the previous compact expired, the two sides agreed on short-term extensions should they not agree to a new deal. At the time, Gov. Kathy Hochul noted the significance of the temporary extensions.

“With the signing of this agreement, there is important momentum for negotiations around the compact. I remain committed to working with President Armstrong and the Seneca Nation in finalizing an agreement that is fair to all parties, and I look forward to more conversations in the coming weeks and months as we continue to meet.”

However, Sen. George Borrello, who has frequently urged state officials to come to terms on a new compact, indicated that the two sides remain far apart on a new deal.

“There were terms that were agreed to that were pulled back last-minute by the governor,” Borrello said in a statement as the legislative session concluded, “and I just don’t see that there’s any real progress.”

Seneca casinos still operational thanks to extensions

Thanks to the temporary extensions, the three Seneca casinos can remain operational, a point Armstrong emphasized. He added that perhaps now that state officials have completed the state budget, the Seneca Nation and state officials can put discussions for a new compact in the spotlight.

“Thousands of people, workers, and businesses, as well as local communities in Western New York, depend on our gaming enterprises,” Armstrong said in a statement.

“Now that the distractions of another budget season and another Legislative session have come and gone, we hope the state will fully commit to accelerating the pace of negotiations until we have reached a fair agreement on all compact terms.”

A spokesperson for the governor’s office assured that the two sides have spoken and will continue to work together to reach a new compact.

“Our administration,” the spokesperson said, “is working with the Seneca Nation of Indians to make sure we have an agreement that is fair, serves the interests of all parties, and addresses the needs of key stakeholders and we look forward to continuing to work toward an agreement.”

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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is the managing editor for PlayNY. A longtime, award-winning sports writer, Grant has covered gambling and legal sports betting since 2018, when he got his start reporting on the New Jersey and Pennsylvania industries. He now oversees PlayNY as New York expands legalized gambling to sports betting and online casino gaming.

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