Seneca Compact Negotiations Continue, Rochester Casino Off The Table

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on August 18, 2023
A Blackjack Dealer Draws Cards At Seneca Niagara Hotel & Casino with New York tribal gaming compact

As talks between the Seneca Nation of Indians and New York State continue, reports are surfacing that a proposed Rochester casino is no longer part of the compact negotiations. 

In June, the tribe agreed in principle to a new 20-year compact with the state. However, word reached state lawmakers that a New York casino in Rochester became part of the agreement.

Now it appears that those casino discussions have faded away. 

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is coming back to discussions

Early compact negotiations did not include Gov. Kathy Hochul. The governor recused herself from talks because of her husband Bill Hochul’s employment at Delaware North, a company in the casino business. 

However, according to a post by PlayNYBill Hochul is resigning from Delaware North, allowing the governor to join the compact discussion once more. His last day was Tuesday.

In a statement to WGRZ, the Seneca Nation said:

“Reaching a fair and equitable Compact agreement remains our priority, and should be the State’s priority as well. New York’s negotiators recently presented us an unreasonable, unfair, and unacceptable proposal that was far different than their position when negotiations were paused in June.

This sort of game-playing can’t continue. The Seneca people and our neighbors in Western New York deserve better. We were and are willing to negotiate a path forward. Our current Compact expires in less than 120 days. That is enough time to get a deal done, but only if the Nation has a reasonable partner at the table with us.”

Seneca gaming compact is still a long way from becoming final

Signed in 2002, the current gaming compact expires on Dec. 9, 2023. The agreement gives the tribe exclusive rights to offer class III gaming in the state’s Western region in exchange for 25% of gambling revenues.

The tribe operates three casinos in New York

  1. Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel
  2. Seneca Allegany Casino
  3. Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino

In a statement, Hochul’s office said: “Administration staff is working with the Seneca Nation of Indians to make sure we have an agreement that is fair, serves the interests of all parties, and addresses the needs of key stakeholders and we look forward to continuing to work toward an agreement.” 

Once an official agreement is met, it would still need approval from the US Department of Interior.

Photo by Don Heupel / AP Photo; illustrated by PlayUSA
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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick Garcia is a senior reporter for PlayUSA. Garcia provides analysis and in-depth coverage of the gambling industry with a key focus on online casinos, sports betting and financial markets. Garcia has been covering the US gambling market since 2017. He attended Texas Tech University as an undergrad and received a Master of Arts in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago.

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