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Borrello releases statement on extension of Seneca Nation gaming compact

By Press Release

Press Release:

“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 Dec. 9 expiration date.

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.”

Borrello calls for Hochul to meet Seneca Nation on gaming compact

By Press Release
Sen. George Borrello

Press Release:

Sen. George Borrello renewed his call for Gov. Kathy Hochul to meet with Seneca Nation of Indians President Rickey Armstrong Sr. as soon as possible to negotiate a new gaming compact before the current agreement expires on Dec. 9. 

Borrello noted that he sent a letter to the Governor on Sept. 20, urging her to start negotiations before time ran out. Since then, another month has passed with no action.  

“The clock is ticking on the expiration of the current compact with just 52 days left. As the only New York State official who can approve a gaming compact between the state and the Seneca Nation, it’s imperative that Hochul agree to a meeting with President Armstrong,” Borrello said. “President Armstrong has repeatedly asked the governor to sit down with him and negotiate an agreement in good faith that is fair and addresses the needs of all parties, yet she continues to avoid the bargaining table.”   

Borrello noted that any agreement would need to be approved by the state Legislature and the people of the Seneca Nation before it can be sent to the Federal Department of Interior for review and final approval.   

“This agreement is essential for the economic well-being of Western New York. The Seneca Nation’s casinos have a $1 billion annual impact on our economy. The livelihoods of tens of thousands of individuals, businesses, and families across Western New York depend upon a new compact. The future of those New Yorkers is hanging in the balance,” Borrello said.  

Hochul had recused herself from the negotiations, arguing her husband’s business ties with Delaware North could lead to a conflict of interest. William Hochul left Delaware North on Aug.15, and Hochul issued a statement saying she was no longer barred from the gaming compact negotiations.  

“Now that the governor is no longer recused, there is no reason for her to delay meeting with President Armstrong,” Borrello said. “Time is running out. We need to get this done.” 

Borrello’s district encompasses both the Allegany and Cattaraugus territories of the Seneca Nation of Indians.

“The Seneca Nation territories and its residents are within the 57th Senate District, so this issue is a priority for me. Seneca Nation members and businesses are a significant part of our lives and culture, and I am proud to represent them in the State Senate,” Borrello said. “Their world-class gaming facilities and resorts are an important part of the hospitality and tourism economy of Western New York.  The people of the Seneca Nation deserve a fair and equitable compact.” 

The original Seneca Nation Compact was authorized in 2002. The agreement cleared the way for the development of three Seneca casinos in Western New York.   

Terms of the compact included the Seneca Nation paying 25 percent, approximately $100 million per year, of the slot and video lottery machine revenue from the casinos to the state, with a portion of that money directed to each casino’s host city. In return, the compact granted the Seneca Nation exclusive rights to operate Class III casinos in Western New York.  

Assemblyman Hawley requests reopening of New York casinos, VLT gaming sites and racetracks

By Press Release

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley has sent a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo requesting the state allow casinos, Video Lottery Terminal gaming facilities and racetracks to open while following proper social distancing and COVID-19-protection protocols.

Hawley points out how other ventures have been allowed to open that often draw more risk in enclosed spaces compared to casinos, despite not bringing in the same revenue the state desperately needs to pick itself up.

“With the economy continuing to struggle, I see the unwillingness to allow casinos and other gaming ventures to open and follow appropriate protocol as nothing but hindering the state’s further economic recovery,” Hawley said.

“New York is losing millions in tax revenue by making this decision, not to mention keeping a sizeable job market from opening in the rural areas of the state that could use support at this time. We need to open these casinos, gaming sites and racetracks now.”

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