In New York and a federal judge has reportedly ruled against the Seneca Nation of Indians in ordering the casino-operating tribe to hand over some $225 million in withheld revenue-sharing payments.
According to a Friday report from the New York Post newspaper, the federally-recognized tribe is responsible for a trio of upstate casinos and had bequeathed its last revenue-sharing payment in March of 2017. It had purportedly argued that its 14-year gaming compact with New York had concluded at the end of the previous year and that this meant it was no longer obliged to surrender 25% of its slot revenues to officials in Albany.
However, the newspaper reported that the office of New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, had countered by claiming that the original 2002 compact had been automatically renewed for another seven years to leave the Seneca Nation of Indians on the hook for the payments worth around $100 million a year.
After numerous court battles, the Seneca Nation of Indians, which runs the Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino via its Seneca Gaming Corporation enterprise, reportedly agreed to let an arbitration panel officially decide the matter. This three-member body purportedly came down on the side of the state in January and left the tribe with no other recourse but to take its case to the United States District Court for the Western District of New York in Buffalo.
In issuing his ruling on Friday, District Court Judge William Skretny reportedly told the tribe, which moreover operates the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in Buffalo as well as Salamanca’s Seneca Allegany Resort and Casino, that the earlier judgment from the arbitration panel was legally binding and that it was now bound by the gaming compact with New York until the end of 2023.
New York senior gubernatorial advisor Rich Azzopardi reportedly told the New York Post that the ruling had confirmed the state’s position that the Seneca Nation of Indians ‘needs to fulfill its obligations’ by making the requisite payments in return for enjoying ‘exclusive gaming rights’.
Azzopardi reportedly told the newspaper…
“It is our hope that the Seneca Nation of Indians ends this charade, stops using the courts to delay and pays what it owes.”