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Discussions continue on a new gaming compact for the Seneca Nation

new york state capitol at night
Matt Ryan
New York NOW
The New York state Capitol building at night.

Discussions are continuing on a new gaming compact for the Seneca Nation of Indians. There was mention of that in separate comments made in recent days by Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong and Governor Kathy Hochul.

Armstrong released a statement last Thursday noting that the two sides are essentially two years into compact discussions with New York state, and they are now six months into an extension on that prior agreement. Originally, the current gaming compact was due to expire last December.

Armstrong said the extension is set to renew the end of this month and talks are continuing. But he added that “the pace and progress” of the process so far, while “detailed and deliberate, have been painstaking, frustrating and disappointing at times.”

However, Armstrong said they will continue to work toward a “fair new Compact that adequately addresses our rights and concerns.”

The gaming compact authorizes the Seneca Nation to conduct gaming activities with the state in three locations: Niagara and Erie counties and on its reservation in Salamanca. In return, the Seneca Nation pays the state a percentage of its revenue. The compact is registered with the U.S. Department of the Interior. It was implemented in 2002.

During a news conference with reporters on Friday on the end of the legislative session, Gov. Hochul said that the state and the Senecas have “been working closely together,” and she said she has met with the leadership of the Seneca Nation several times.

Hochul did not detail how those talks are going, except to say her “team is very engaged with them, and we look forward to telling you when it’s all resolved.”

There were some indications earlier last year the Seneca Nation, which has three casinos in Western New York, was pursuing a casino location in the Rochester area. That speculation brought opposition from some political and business interests, and there has been no indication recently whether that is still part of any discussions on a new compact.

This story includes reporting by WSKG.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.