Cuomo threatens Seneca Tribe with competition in Niagara Falls

By Harrison Sayers
New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, has threatened the Seneca Tribe that he will have a casino built near Niagara Falls if they fail to make their revenue sharing payments.

The tribe has given up to $1.5bn at a rate of approximately $110m annually to state funds. The loss of this money will represent a large whole for public spending projects.

It must also be noted that the Seneca Tribe have stopped payments before. Back in 2009 following the introduction of video gambling machines in the states racetracks, as well as one in an ‘exclusive’ Seneca area, the tribe pulled payments for a four year period.

Mr Cuomo has insisted that a continuation over payment disputes would result in a rival casino being built near the Seneca Tribe’s. Effectively the Governor is looking to pressure the tribe in paying 25% of their slot machine revenue which have been a vital tax source for the State.

As reported in the Buffalo News, a Cuomo official said: “If they don’t fulfil their obligations to continue payments and to honour the compact, we are going to pursue putting an additional casino in Niagara Falls.”

The Seneca Tribe have remained adamant that they had fulfilled their obligations reached in a compact agreement back in 2002, which required them to pay the state up until the end of 2016. As the period has passed the Tribe will no longer be obliged to supplement the States income.

The Governor’s office has stated that part of the compact deal was to offer a casino and gambling exclusivity zone near the Seneca Tribe’s casino. However, they claim that if the payments stop the contract will be nullified, allowing for a potential saturation of the Casino market in upstate New York.

A member of Cuomo’s team said: “We believe if they don’t pay, the compact is null and void. As a condition of that compact, they get exclusivity and if they don’t honour their end we’re going to explore how to put a casino in Niagara Falls."

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