The Oneida Nation released what it calls a Responsible Gaming pledge last week. It includes vows to create “good paying jobs” that include health care and pensions, and investing “a majority” of its casino profits in the region.
The Turning Stone Casino and Resort has become a major economic engine. Its casinos, hotels, and golf courses are estimated to make hundreds of millions of dollars a year. It employs more than 4,000 people.
But its success has bothered neighboring businesses that say they can’t compete with the advantages enjoyed by the sovereign Oneida Nation, including limited taxation and the exclusive right to run gaming operations.
But that exclusivity may change. The state legislature and Governor Cuomo have agreed on a plan to amend the state constitution to allow up to seven non-native owned casinos to be built. Those would, of course, compete with Turning Stone.
Nation representative Ray Halbritter said in a written statement that the pledge is made with the belief that New York will support his casino, “rather than advance policies that would undermine existing economic development”.
In addition to the Oneida Nation, the Seneca Nation runs three casinos in western New York. The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe owns one in Akwesasne east of Massena.