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August 20, 2013 - 5:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, business, Seneca Nation, Gambling, WROTB.

Rochester media is buzzing today about a purported announcement by the Seneca Nation looking to open a casino in Henrietta.

WHAM 13 is among the stations reporting that the tribe wants to expand to the Rochester suburb.

Michael D. Kane, president and CEO of Western Region OTB, said this afternoon, there will be no Seneca-owned casino in Henrietta, at least not any time soon.

"Under the current statutory scheme, they will not be able to put a casino in Western New York," Kane said. "Without a statutory change, which isn't likely to happen in today's environment, they cannot do what they're looking to do."

Kane said he isn't really sure what prompted the Seneca's to announce an interest in a casino in Henrietta when something like that happening at this time is more of a dream than even a hope.

"If casino gaming became regulated in New York State rather than prohibited, then perhaps they could fashion some agreement with the federal government to do it," Kane said. "From my point of view, there's no change in enforcement from today than there was yesterday."

Western OTB runs Batavia Downs Racetrack and Casino which, under terms of an agreement between the Senecas and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is blocked from expanding into a full-fledged casino.

According to WHAM, the Senecas have hired Flaum Management to "coordinate the development" of a casino.

"This is an exciting day," CEO David Flaum said. "I am profoundly grateful for Seneca Nation for choosing me. I hope to assist them in bringing a casino here."

Kane said Flaum has been a consultant for the Senecas for 12 years.

Also, see the Rochester Business Journal: Seneca Nation to work with Flaum on gaming, hospitality development here.

March 16, 2012 - 12:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, Seneca Nation, Gambling.

It looks like Batavia Downs is a long shot to expand into a full-blown Vegas-style casino with table games and expanding gambling options.

The NYS Legislature took a big step yesterday toward opening up so-called racinos to more casino games, but capped the number of race tracks that can expand at seven.

Western Regional OTB board member Dick Siebert told WBTA that he's very concerned that Batavia Downs is being excluded from the expansion.

“Buffalo Raceway and Batavia Downs are the closest raceways to the Senecas' casinos (in Niagara Falls and Allegany), and they’re the ones putting the heat on the state,” Siebert points out. “So I’ve got a strange but very sound feeling that we’re the two being targeted.”

The seven target locations have not been disclosed.

The Senecas believe they have an exclusive lock on gambling in New York and the legislature may have caved to pressure from the Senecas by excluding Buffalo and Batavia from the expansion.

“They’re behind it,” Siebert said. “They’ve got money, and they’re throwing it around. They don’t want the competition. But not having Batavia Downs be a full casino hurts Western New York a lot more than what might happen to the Senecas.

“I’ll probably get myself in trouble to say it – but it’s the truth,” Siebert added.

Michael Kane, CEO of the Western Regional OTB remains hopeful, however.

“I don’t think it takes Batavia Downs out of the mix at all,” Kane says. “I think the number was just negotiated between the governor and the two houses.”

January 26, 2009 - 9:08am

The Buffalo News reports this morning that Gov. David Paterson will meet and negotiate with the leaders of the Seneca Nation before any shipments of cigarettes to Seneca retailers are halted. Aaron Besecker reports:

During a rally Sunday just south of the Route 438 Thruway overpass, [Seneca President Barry E. Snyder Sr.] read a letter from Gov. David A. Paterson in which the governor indicated his desire to begin talks with the Indian nation about the dispute over tax collection on cigarettes sold by Native American merchants to non-Indians.

It sounds as if the governor is considering backing off from enforcing the law that he himself signed in December that requires wholesalers to show to the state tax department that they are not selling tax-free cigarettes to retailers. If they fail to comply, they could be charged with perjury. In the meantime, a justice of the state Supreme Court "issued a temporary restraining order ... that blocks the state from enforcing its policy."

Paterson spokesman Morgan Hook said he would not comment on a private conversation between the governor and Snyder, but he did say a negotiated compromise on the cigarette tax issue “is an avenue [Paterson] would like to take.”

“The governor sees it as a window of opportunity,” Hook said.

What exactly would Gov. Paterson negotiate? This seems to be a pretty cut and dry issue. Either the state enforces the law or the law is repealed. Can you see any compromise on this?

September 12, 2008 - 9:57am
posted by Philip Anselmo in history, Holland Land Office Museum, Seneca Nation.

Coming in at No. 15 in the Holland Land Office Museum countdown of The Twenty-Five Things That Made Genesee County Famous is the only court case to have orginated in Genesee County that was heard by the United States Supreme Court. This was in 1857.

It all started when a representative of the Ogden Land Company, Joseph Fellows, tried to take the land of the Tonawanda Indian Reservation. Tonawanda Seneca Sachem John Blacksmith wouldn't have it. (A sachem is a sort of Native American king, by the way.) Blacksmith sued the land company and his case was eventually heard by the supreme court.

If you want to know what happened next, check out the full article by Museum Director Pat Weissend. While you're at the the museum's Web site, you can isten to podcasts of some of the other big things that made the list of The Twenty-Five Things That Made Genesee County Famous.

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