A view of the gaming floor at the Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino, owned and operated by the Seneca Nation in Niagara Falls, New York. Photo: Invest Buffalo Niagara

Seneca Nation in arbitration over gaming compact dispute in New York

The Seneca Nation and the state of New York are in arbitration to resolve a Class III gaming compact dispute though formal talks have yet to begin, according to news reports.

The tribe selected Kevin Washburn, who led the Bureau of Indian Affairs during the later years of the Obama administration, for the arbitration panel. The state selected attorney Henry Gutman, who previously served in the same role during a prior compact dispute that largely went in the tribe's favor.

The third member of the panel has been chosen but neither the tribe nor the state have revealed the person's identity, according to news reports.

The dispute arose after the tribe halted revenue payments in 2017 contending they were no long required under the compact. Since 2002, the tribe shared $1.4 billion with the state.

The state, on the other hand, contends the payments must continue.

The arbitration panel has not formally met, according to The Niagara Falls Reporter. But it's possible they could meet before the end of the year, the paper said.

The tribe and the state could always reach a settlement before that happens, Mayor Paul Dyster of Niagara Falls told The Niagara Gazette. He said he knows the identity of the third arbitrator but deferred to the tribe and the state to announce who it is.

The city has depended on revenues from the tribe to address budget shortfalls. The Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino is located there.

Read More on the Story:
Identity of third arbitrator, next step in Seneca compact dispute unclear (The Lockport Journal July 22, 2018)
Dyster focused on Seneca Nation arbitration as Falls bond rating's downgraded (The Niagara Gazette July 19, 2018)
Gaming Arbitration Set for December as City Lawmakers Face $13 Million Deficit (The Niagara Falls Reporter July 18, 2018)
With casino payment arbitration stuck before starting, would Senecas deal directly with cities? (WBFO April 30, 2018)

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