Rochester Casino Reportedly Out of Ongoing Seneca Nation Compact Negotiations
Posted on: August 17, 2023, 08:01h.
Last updated on: August 17, 2023, 12:13h.
A rumored Rochester casino being included in the compact between New York State and the Seneca Nation is reportedly no more. That’s as the two sides continue laboring on an updated tribal gaming revenue-sharing agreement.
In June, rumors out of Albany suggested that state negotiators were willing to allow the Seneca Nation to open a casino resort in Rochester as part of the tribe’s new Class III compact.
The tribe’s current compact mandates the state receive 25% of the slot machine revenue generated at the Seneca’s three casinos. That’s in exchange for the tribe holding the exclusive rights to slot machines and table games west of State Route 14 near Seneca Lake in upstate New York. The Seneca casinos are Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino, Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino, and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino.
The Rochester casino rumors followed after the Seneca Nation and state officials announced an agreement in principle for a new gaming compact that would run for a minimum of 20 years. Neither the tribe nor the state immediately provided specific details as to what the updated pact included.
Reports then surfaced that, along with reducing the tribe’s slot tax from 25% to 19.5%, state negotiators agreed to allow the Senecas to open a fourth casino in their gaming territory in Rochester.
Back to Drawing Board
Rochester officials and many locals lambasted the state for not including the city in the tribal gaming talks if allowing a casino in their town was part of the new terms.
How dare someone think they can do something in the city of Rochester and not contact the mayor,” Rochester Mayor Malik Evans (D) said in June. “It’s an issue of disrespect.”
Seneca Nation officials have said such blame rests with the state. Since New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) husband is an executive at Delaware North, which is invested in commercial gaming in New York, the governor recused herself from the Seneca compact talks. Her designated negotiators, Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong Sr. said, were responsible for looping in local officials.
“The blame for keeping Rochester officials out of the loop lays directly at the feet of the executive,” Armstrong said, referring to Hochul. “The Nation regularly consulted our own legislative branch, and expected that the executive was doing the same.”
The Seneca Nation compact expires this December, though the document allows for the revenue-sharing agreement to linger should new terms not be reached before the deadline. In the event that a new compact isn’t reached, the tribe will place its 25% slot share into an escrow account.
The tribe told WGRZ, an NBC affiliate in Rochester, that the state backtracked on its June offer.
New York’s negotiators recently presented us an unreasonable, unfair, and unacceptable proposal that was far different than their position when negotiations were paused in June,” the Seneca Nation statement read. “This sort of game playing can’t continue. The Seneca people and our neighbors in Western New York deserve better.”
The tribe, however, said there “is enough time to get a deal done” before the December expiration.
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