The Seneca Nation has started a public awareness campaign in advance of new gaming compact negotiations in New York.
As earlier reported by the Buffalo News, the Senecas launched a new website, StandWithSeneca.com, and plan to air television commercials as well. The site educates visitors on the economic impact of the Seneca within the state, both locally and throughout New York.
The Senecas operate three upstate NY casinos including Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino, Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino and Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino.
The Senecas current gaming compact expires in Dec. 2023. However, the tribe and the state have not exactly enjoyed the best of relationship over the past few years.
Seneca Nation emphasizes economic impact in New York
A video on the website states that the Seneca stands as one of western New York’s largest employers. The annual payroll exceeds $220 million in wages for over 5,000 employees. Those employees pay $55 million in state and federal taxes.
“Exclusivity is probably going to be one of the most contentious parts of the negotiation,” Seneca Nation president Matthew Pagels said, according to the Buffalo News. “The gaming landscape over the last 20 years has changed so drastically.
“It’s beyond time for our positive impacts and contributions to this area to be recognized in a fair compact,” Pagels added. “We just want to see a fair compact that delivers economic benefits and not only to the Senecas but the region as well.”
Can Senecas make amends with state to re-up NY casino compact?
Recently, tensions escalated between the Senecas and New York lawmakers over outstanding casino revenue payments. A day after sending $564 million to New York, Pagels blasted Gov. Kathy Hochul.
In a video statement, Pagels said New York showed its “hostile and shameless greed … for the world to see.”
Hochul said most of the money from the Senecas would go toward paying for the Buffalo Bills’ new stadium.
The tribe’s current gaming compact with the state expires in Dec. 2023. But the state and the Seneca have endured a five-year legal battle over the agreement.
“Since the beginning of my administration, I have been committed to resolving this dispute and securing the funds that State and local governments are owed.” Hochul said in a statement.
“The courts have consistently ruled in the State’s favor, yet no payments were made. Upon taking office, I sought to negotiate in good faith, and we have met every hurdle. I am pleased to have finally reached a resolution, and the full $564 million has been received by New York.”