Assemblyman: ‘It’s Time’ For New York To Prioritize, Finalize Long-Term Gaming Compact With Seneca Nation

Written By Grant Lucas on June 21, 2024
Image of New York Assemblyman Joseph Giglio for a story on his frustrations regarding the Seneca Nation not having a long-term gambling compact in place.

Negotiations continue to drag on toward a permanent and updated gaming compact between the Seneca Nation of Indians and New York State.

And as they do, more voices are being heard for this painstakingly long process to come to an end.

Assemblyman Joseph Giglio has long been a proponent of state lawmakers and the Seneca to complete a new compact agreement. Now, he voiced his frustrations that Gov. Kathy Hochul and other state leaders failed to finalize one before the 2024 legislative session closed earlier this month.

“We are on track to enter our third three-month extension,” Giglio said, as reported by the Olean Times Herald.

“I’ve spoken with Seneca Nation Council members who told me every time they think they have a deal, something happens that derails the talks. A new gaming compact is vital to our regional economy across Western New York.”

Seneca still looking for a long-term NY casino compact

In early December, just a few days before the Seneca’s compact was due to expire, Hochul and Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong Sr. agreed to extend the tribe’s existing deal in temporary intervals.

This created more time for negotiators to come to terms on a longer-term compact, a move that represented what Hochul called “important momentum” for the two sides.

Now, though, the Seneca likely heads toward a third three-month extension with no evidence that either side is closer to a more permanent agreement.

“The pace and progress of the process so far, while detailed and deliberate, have been painstaking, frustrating, and disappointing at times,” Seneca President Rickey Armstrong Sr.</strong said in a statement at the time.

“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.”

Giglio echoed Armstrong’s displeasure:

“Every day, Seneca Nation members and Seneca Nation businesses make vital cultural and economic contributions to our community. I urge Gov. Hochul and her team to sit down with President Armstrong and Seneca Nation leaders to forge a new compact for the benefit of our community and all of Western New York.”

‘It’s time’ for long-term compact with Seneca Nation

Giglio emphasized the importance of the Seneca Nation by highlighting the tribe’s contributions to the New York economy. Seneca’s casinos — which include Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel, Seneca Allegany Casino, and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino — generate $1 billion per year for the Western New York economy. And Seneca Nation Hospitality stands as one of the region’s largest employers with over 6,000 people on the payroll.

“It’s time for executive branch negotiating team to come back to the table and negotiate a deal in good faith with the Seneca Nation,” Giglio told the Olean Times Herald, “for the benefit of everyone in Western New York, native and non-native.”

Giglio has frequently voiced his displeasure with the snail’s pace of negotiations, at one point noting that it “would be catastrophic” for a new compact not to be agreed upon.

Perhaps there is a light at the end of a shorter tunnel, however. Giglio noted that Hochul may call for a special session this summer, a session that could also include talks surrounding the legalization of online casinos in New York.

Photo by Mike Groll / AP Photo
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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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