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Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls. Photo: <a href="">Christine K</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls. Photo: Christine K, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Sencas, Cuomo continue casino deal talks

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Over the last week the Oneida Nation and the Mohawk Native have reached settlements with the Cuomo administration giving them exclusive rights to operate casinos in their regions.

The Seneca Nation is the third tribe now operating a casino in New York. They have yet to finalize a new agreement. Governor Cuomo, speaking in Buffalo on Wednesday, says that negotiations continue.

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"The Senecas in western New York, we do not have an agreement. The compact is due to expire in 2016. We're continuing to talk. We have two out of three we've made agreements with and we're going ahead with the full proposal," Cuomo said.

The Senecas have withheld around $500 million in paymants to the state, and to Buffalo and Niagara Falls, the host cities where they've operated since 2009. The tribe alleges that the state broke the 2002 gaming compact when it allowed slot machines at racetracks.

The missed payments have hit the municipalities hard, especially Niagara Falls. The agreement this week with Mohawk chiefs settled a similar dispute, allowing the Akwesasne Casino to resume sharing revenue with the state, as well as St. Lawrence and Franklin counties.

Governow Cuomo has said he eventually wants to site three private casinos in upstate New York. A referendum to allow for non-Indian gaming is expected to be on the ballot either this November or next.

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