Seneca Nation and New York Extend Deadline on Compact Talks

Seneca Nation and New York Extend Deadline on Compact Talks
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

Some gaming news was announced quietly on the compact between the Seneca Nation of Indians and the state of New York. Both governments agreed last Friday to a short-term extension of the Nation’s current Class III gaming Compact and agreed to continue negotiations on a new Compact.

The deadline for the original agreement was scheduled for Dec. 9. The extension runs through March 31, 2024 and automatically will renew unless one of the parties decides against it or if a new gaming compact is agreed upon.

“Over the last several weeks, our discussions with New York State, including face-to-face meetings with Governor Hochul, have centered, in part, on the potential extension of our current Compact, especially as the December 9 expiration gets ever closer,” said Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong Sr. in a news release. “As a result of those discussions between our governments, the Seneca Nation and New York State have agreed to a short-term extension of our current Compact. As important, we have agreed to continue negotiations on a new Compact. 
“This short-term extension will provide additional time for our governments to complete Compact negotiations and to seek all necessary approvals in accordance with Seneca Nation, New York State, and federal law. Under the extension, our three gaming properties will continue to operate without interruption, alleviating any concerns about potential impacts for our thousands of casino employees, which was a priority for the Nation.”

New York has casinos runs by tribes as well as four others run by different entities upstate. The state now is in the process of entertaining open bids for three downstate casinos. Online New York casinos are not yet legal.

What’s Next on Road to New Deal?

Once a new deal is agreed upon, the New York State Legislature would have to approve any deal. The U.S. Department of the Interior then must review the agreement, and officials will have 45 days to review the compact.

Class III gaming covers both Las Vegas-style slot machines and live-dealer table games.

Seneca leaders say their casinos in Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Salamanca employ nearly 5,600 workers and generate an economic impact of $1.1 billion to the region.

“The news that an agreement has been reached on an extension of the Gaming Compact between the state and the Seneca Nation is welcome news to those of us who have been urging the Hochul administration to act before the December 9 expiration date.” New York State Senator George M. Borrello said in a statement. “The Seneca Nation is a valued neighbor in Western New York and their gaming facilities and resorts are a major economic driver. This agreement relieves a measure of uncertainty that has increasingly clouded this issue as the expiration date approached.

“I urge the Hochul administration to use this extension productively rather than as an excuse to kick the can down the road. The Governor and her team need to come to the table with a commitment to engaging in good faith negotiations on an agreement that is fair to all parties. That commitment has been lacking in this process up until now. The gaming landscape has changed profoundly in the last two decades and any new agreement should reflect that while simultaneously assuring that critical funding to host communities is sustained.”

Since signing the first compact 21 years ago (2002), New York state has legalized commercial casino gaming with four casinos operating in upstate New York. The closest to the Seneca Nation’s operations is del Lago Resort and Casino, located between Rochester and Syracuse.

Stay tuned to NYCasinos.com for any developments as well as for information on the future of New York casino apps.

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Author

Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene with emphasis on NJ and PA. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media (NJ.com) in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.