In a slight turn of events, the new state-tribal compact between the Seneca Nation and New York is being thrown into question.
Although specifics remain unclear, Gov. Kathy Hochul may have negotiated an agreement allowing the Seneca Nation to open a New York casino in Rochester.
A new secret tribal casino
Last week, Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong Sr. announced the tribe had agreed “in principle” with Hochul’s administration on a new 20-year tribal gaming compact.
But with the addition of a Rochester casino, state lawmakers might try and take things back to the drawing board.
Speaking with POLITICO, Assemblymember Harry Bronson (D-Rochester) said after finding out about the possibility of a casino on June 9, he was “extremely concerned.”
“This is something that should be seriously discussed in an open and transparent way, and if the rumor is correct and they are considering potentially downtown Rochester or even in the surrounding area of Rochester, local folks should have a say in this.”
After contacting the governor, Bronson said he was told anything regarding the compact could not be discussed due to a non-disclosure agreement.
“Certainly I would want local officials to be part of that discussion as well as our families that live in the city and surrounding area,” Bronson told the Democrat and Chronicle.
State-tribal compact still pending legislative approval
On Saturday, after unsuccessfully getting the Assembly to vote on a bill to give Hochul’s administration the ability to finalize the agreement, Armstrong Sr. issued a statement.
Armstrong, Sr. said:
“We have come to a fair deal with the State, and it is incumbent of them to hold up their side of the bargain. The State Senate has already passed the bill providing the Governor authority to complete the deal, and we strongly encourage the Assembly to do the same.”
Hochul and Armstrong Sr. have both dodged questions regarding a Rochester casino.
When asked about a casino while at a media appearance in Buffalo, Hochul provided zero details but said her team was “very involved,” and “waiting for support from the legislature.”
Similarly, without mentioning a Rochester casino, Armstrong Sr. said, “a compact represents an opportunity for new and continued jobs that are vital to our region. It is our goal to add more jobs to the entire region, including more union jobs.”