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Senecas, state reach western NY gambling deal

Posted at: 06/13/2013 2:51 PM
Updated at: 06/13/2013 11:21 PM



State and Seneca Indian Nation leaders have announced a deal to resolve a long-running dispute over western New York gambling rights and revenue.
     
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Seneca President Barry Snyder Sr. say Thursday that $630 million in payments withheld by the tribe after it said the state broke an agreement granting it exclusive gambling rights will be divided up between three cities with Seneca casinos, the state and the tribe.
    
They say financially-strapped Niagara Falls will get $89 million, Salamanca $34.5 million and Buffalo $15.5 million. It wasn't initially known how the balance will be divided between the state and tribe.
    
The deal reaffirms the Senecas' exclusivity rights, but allows three non-Indian racetrack "racinos" in the region to continue operating as long as they don't bill themselves as casinos.

 Gov. Andrew Cuomo is headed to western New York to announce an agreement with the Seneca Indian Nation in a long-running standoff over casino gambling.
    
The official with knowledge of the deal spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday because it hadn't yet been announced.
    
The announcement comes one day after Seneca President Barry Snyder Sr. met with members of Cuomo's administration for several hours in Albany.
    
The Senecas operate casinos in Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Salamanca under an agreement with the state that requires them to share slot machine revenues in exchange for being the only casino operators in the region. But the tribe has been withholding payments since 2009, contending New York broke its exclusivity promise by allowing video lottery terminals at nearby racetracks.