Seneca Indian Nation leaders are upping the ante in their fight to stay as sole operator of casinos in Western New York state. President Robert Odawi Porter said they would “vigorously fight” attempts by the state to allow firms to set up shop in areas they hold an exclusivity compact. In 2002 the nation signed a deal with the Governor at the time, George Pataki, giving them gambling rights over 14 counties until 2023. In return they share revenues with Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Salamanca. This was until the state decided to play a game of see how grumpy we can make Mr. Indian Nation Man.
When previous expansion took place, the Senecas decided to withdraw the revenue they shared and three years has gone by since and seen the figure total $330million. It was in response to slot machines being installed at certain racetracks in the agreed zone and a video game being allowed in bars. Porter added: “We will fight vigorously to protect the promises that were made to us under that compact. We have made a billion-dollar investment based on a promise made that we would have exclusive gambling rights.”
The state started to take the “we might as well” attitude towards casino business expansion earlier this year when everyone in the legislature woke up to the smell of cheese steak as New Yorkers returned visiting the next-door neighbors. Any expansion will have to be rubber stamped in Cuomo’s January session before it sees a vote – something that is unlikely before 2013. Cuomo might have the residents on his side but getting the legislature will be harder and chances of getting the tribe onside are neigh-on impossible
New York’s current gambling industry is largely limited to racinos and the newest of these has climbed to the top of the Racino Premiership. Resorts World New York City, which opened in October, is at the Aqueduct and in the week ending November 26, it was top amongst all nine racinos. The venue saw punters spend $9.9million, which pipped its neighbour over in Yonkers, Empire City that could only manage $9.8m. The figures were published by the state lottery, and director Gordon Medenica told NYDailyNews.com: “What’s amazing is how quickly they caught up to speed. They’re doing a great job. We couldn’t be happier.”
Resorts World officials plan to have the remaining two floors of the venue open by December 16. That move adds another 2,500 VLTs, two 250-seat restaurants and a large event space to a venue that boasts 2,280 VLTs. Empire City has said that there’s no rivalry between the two. You just wait until after Christmas and the behemoth’s been open for a little longer. Then the sour grapes could be on display.