The Seneca Nation owns and operates the Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino in Niagara Falls, New York. Photo: Christine K

John Kane: Seneca Nation money train coming to an end in New York

With terms of a Class III gaming compact expiring soon, radio show host John Karhiio Kane (Mohawk) wonders whether the state of New York will continue to demand gaming revenues from the Seneca Nation:
As the sun set on 2016, the world trembled in anticipation of what the Trump era of U.S. national politics would bring. Meanwhile at the New York State level, in spite of on-going corruption allegations and a lack of long-promised ethics reform, Governor Andrew Cuomo seems to be riding a surge of popularity perhaps due to the backlash against Trump’s first two months in office. But beyond the typical dirty politics, pay-to-play and general corruption is the never-ending tensions that exist between Native people and their governments, and non-Native governmental officials and agencies.

The tension between the Seneca and New York State may start to ramp up quickly here in 2017. I say “may” because this next issue should not really be a conflict, regardless of the financial implications. With budgets being proposed by the State and the municipalities around Seneca gaming sites, it appears that a huge oversight has been made by those counting on the more than $100 million they seem to expect to receive from the Seneca Nation. For 14 years the Seneca have made payments that now total more than $1.5 billion for an almost nonexistent “exclusivity” zone. And while the State’s breach of that portion of the Gaming Compact between the State and the Seneca made plenty of headlines a few years ago and resulted in the State surrendering $200 million in payments for that breach, little attention was paid to the future of the revenue-sharing clause of the Gaming Compact. Certainly those receiving the free money would like to ignore the terms. And while the “exclusivity” portion of the revenue-sharing deal was a lesson in word-smithing and lopsidedness, the payment side couldn’t have been more clear.

Read More on the Story:
John Karhiio Kane: Seneca Gaming Compact: Money for Nothing Ends for New York (Indian Country Today 3/24)

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