New York threatens to end casino compact with Senecas over withheld payments

New-York-Seneca-PaymentsNew York State has issued a warning to the Seneca Indian Nation — pay up or else. Unless the Senecas make good on $214.5M in revenue-sharing payments they have withheld from New York over the past two years, the state is saying it will terminate an agreement which allows the Senecas to operate its three casinos in Western New York (Niagara Falls, Salamanca and Buffalo).

The compact states that the Senecas are to provide 25% of ‘net drop’ from their casinos’ slots. In addition to the withheld revenues, New York claims it is owed millions more to cover state police expenses stemming from casino security, background checks and oversight.

The Senecas (the westernmost member of the Six Nations) began withholding payments after New York permitted casino gambling at racetracks and ‘Moxie-Mania’ video tic-tac-toe games at some 500 bars, which the Senecas claim is a violation of the exclusivity rights granted to them in the compact. The Senecas also think the state has been overcharging them for those police services.

The state is looking to have a meeting with the Senecas within two weeks to work out a deal before it considers more drastic measures. Seneca President Barry Snyder Sr. says he’d welcome a meeting with state reps, providing they come to Western New York. Careful, New Yorkers, I smell another Little Big Horn in the making…