May 17, 2013 — For the first time, the Oneida Indian Nation has entered into an agreement to share some of its gambling revenues with New York state. The concession means there's no risk of a competing state-run casino in the Nation's backyard.
The deal comes as Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushes to bring casino gambling to non-Indian land in upstate New York. He sees it as a potential economic boon for the region.
But by agreeing to give New York a quarter of its revenues, the Oneida will gain exclusive rights over a 10-county region around the nation's Turning Stone casino in Oneida County. That includes Onondaga County, where the City of Syracuse is.
The deal could bring up to $50 million a year for the state.
Ray Halbritter, the tribal representative for the Oneida, called it a "fair" agreement. "This is a success for not just the Oneida people but it's a win for central New York and a win for the state."
As part of the deal, Oneida and Madison counties will drop current legal action against the nation. The agreement is similar to ones previously struck with the Seneca and Mohawk nations, which also operate casinos in upstate New York. It needs to be approved by the federal government, but will remain intact even if New Yorkers don't vote in favor of more casino gaming.