Buffalo Bills Announce Deal with Neighboring Seneca Nation to Serve as ‘Official Casino’

Posted on: August 31, 2019, 03:26h. 

Last updated on: August 31, 2019, 11:42h.

The Buffalo Bills announced on Friday that they have reached a sponsorship agreement with a nearby tribal gaming community, a move that’s establishing a trend among National Football League teams to partner with casinos.

It’s a new era at New Era Field, as the Buffalo Bills announced a partnership with Seneca Resorts and Casino to serve as the NFL team’s official team. (Image: BuffaloNews.com)

Seneca Resorts and Casinos will serve as the “Official Casino of the Buffalo Bills,” the team ownership group, Pegula Sports and Entertainment, said in a statement. The Niagara Falls-based tribe owns three casinos and resorts in the western part of New York.

As part of the sponsorship, the two companies are teaming to give away a motor coach and a pair of season tickets for 2020. The tribal gaming company also will receive naming rights to the radio broadcast studio based at the team’s headquarters.

(T)his partnership brings even more opportunities for play both on and off the field,” said Melissa Free, a senior vice president for Seneca Gaming Corp.

Two days ago, the Green Bay Packers announced they signed Oneida Casino as its official casino sponsor. Packers officials said it was a “first of its kind” arrangement after the league made changes to its policies regarding casino partnerships. However, last year, the Dallas Cowboys announced a similar agreement with an Oklahoma tribal casino.

Back in January, the NFL picked Caesars Entertainment to serve as the league’s official casino sponsor. The league announced earlier this month that it reached an agreement with Sportradar to provide real-time official data to sportsbooks in the US and across the world.

No Book Promotion

Last month, the Seneca Nation announced its intent to offer sports betting at its venues. Tribal casino operators are allowed to offer sports betting in New York, which allows the sports betting at its four state-licensed casinos.

Earlier this month, the Oneida Nation unveiled sportsbooks at its two casinos in the state, with Scientific Games managing the betting operations.

Last year, the NFL’s team owners agreed to allow franchises to sell partnerships with casinos, including offering deals for naming rights. However, currently, casinos cannot directly promote their sportsbook as part of the arrangement.

Deteriorating State

While the Seneca Nation has reached an agreement with one New York institution, it has not yet done so with another. And the lack of such an agreement could threaten the tribe’s ability to offer sports betting.

In March 2017, Seneca Nation leaders stopped sending 25 percent of its slot machine revenues. They claimed while the compact between the state that ended in 2016 was automatically renewed, it did not include the revenue-sharing provision.

Arbitrators in April determined Seneca leaders were still responsible for making payments, with the nation more than a quarter-billion in arrears. In addition to the state losing out, local communities that have relied on its share of the funding have gone without, too.

The relationship between the tribe and the state has become so rocky that it’s led to the deterioration of a three-mile stretch of Interstate 90 just south of Buffalo.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state would repair the stretch of highway once officials in his administration reach a deal with Seneca leaders.