The Seneca Nation of Indians have lost yet another skirmish over sharing casino gaming revenue with New York City. On Friday, the US District Court for the Western District of New York declared that the Senecas are on the hook for several hundred million dollars in revenue sharing payments. They had been withholding this from the state based on the tribe’s reading of the wording of their gaming compact. In April of 2017, the Seneca’s started withholding 25% of their share in slots revenue from three upstate casinos which they were required to remit to the state according to a report which was published on reputable website Calvinayre.com
The tribe argued that their compact did not require them to make the payments on a continuous basis. The payments averaged around $110 per year after the conclusion of the compact’s initial 14-year term.
Earlier on during the year, an arbitration panel voted 2-1 for the state so that compact terms also applied to their automatic seven year extension after neither party decided to object to it taking effect. The panel added that the total sum which was withheld from the state reached more than $255 million by that period.
The Senecas previously claimed that they would off course abide by the panel’s decision though back in April they requested that the federal courts reconsider the decision made. The ruling which was made on Friday by Judge William Skretny upholds the panels decision and rejected the Seneca’s request to have the US Department of the Interior review the matter.
After Skretny made a ruling, Seneca President Reicky Armstrong SR issued a statement and claimed that the tribue understood the reality that the arbitration and court proceedings may not immediately and ultimately uphold the language of the compact as was written. Armstrong also said that the tribe are still in the process of deciding as to whether to appeal the ruling which was made on Friday.
New York Gov Spokesman Andre Cuomo issued a sore winner statement and reminded the public that host communities from the tribes casinos have been located and have been struggling to fund programs without their share of the slots revenue. The statement ended with the hope that the Senecas manage to end the charade and stop using courts to delay and ultimately pay the price that they do owe.
The Senca’s decision to not pay the payments has been viewed as retaliation for the state’s 2015 decision to authorize new commercial casinos including in del Lago Resort and Casino in Seneca Country.
One can hope that a decision can be reached as soon as possible and that it will be of mutual benefit to all parties involved.
Unfortunately the massive amount of disputes such as this taking place throughout the world has tarnished the reputation of the gaming industry.