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Seneca Nation v. New York Exclusivity Dispute Update

As the arbitration between the Seneca Nation of Indians and the State of New York continues, stakeholders such as the cities of Niagara Falls and Salamanca watch and wait for news of whether and when the withheld payments may be delivered. Meanwhile, the State has not removed the video lottery terminals within the Tribe’s exclusivity zone that sparked the debate. 

Adding to the existing tensions, New York Governor Cuomo has not denied an off-the-record tip to the Buffalo News that he may propose the idea of a second, non-Indian casino in Niagara Falls. The notion of a competing commercial casino is speculative at best, as such an operation would be years away and would do little to solve the city’s immediate cash flow crisis. 

Niagara Falls Mayor Dyster prefers the more realistic option of reaching an agreement with the Nation, and he has stated that the arbitration is on track and that he expects the withheld tribal payments to the State will be delivered by mid-year. The Governor has agreed to send $2.5 million to the city of Salamanca, which is home to another Seneca casino and is owed $20 million in payments. However, as of now, the Governor has not offered a similar deal to Niagara Falls. 

© Copyright 2020 Dickinson Wright PLLCNational Law Review, Volume III, Number 70


About this Author

Patrick Sullivan, Attorney, Litigation, Dickinson Wright Law Firm, tribal litigator

Mr. Sullivan represents clients in tribal, state and federal litigation, regulatory matters before various government agencies and negotiation of intergovernmental agreements between Indian tribes and state and local municipalities. He holds an M.B.A from Portland State University and helped build several successful software companies. Mr. Sullivan’s popular articles in the Gaming Legal News are frequently republished in high-profile law blogs and online publications.