Casino Money Distributed to Host Communities

August 2, 2013 Updated Aug 2, 2013 at 9:32 AM EDT

By Ed Reilly

August 2, 2013 Updated Aug 2, 2013 at 9:32 AM EDT

WESTERN NEW YORK (WKBW) After four years of disagreement, New York State and the Seneca Nation of Indians have finally resolved their dispute over casino payments to three host communities.

Wednesday morning July 31st, Seneca Nation of Indians President Barry Snyder, Sr. presented New York Governor Andrew Cuomo with a check for $349.6 million dollars.

The money represents the agreed upon slot machine revenues that the Seneca's held in escrow while the dispute dragged on.

After receiving the money, Governor Cuomo was able to present the City of Niagara Falls with a check for $89 million dollars, Buffalo a check for $15.5 million, and the City of Salamanca a check for $34.5 million.

The Upstate NY Gaming Development Act, signed by Governor Cuomo, included the exclusion of the WNY zone from the bidding for any commercial gaming legislation.

The State will enforce the WNY exclusivity zone for casino gaming, and a new dispute resolution process will be put in place to deal with future disagreements.

The Senecas agree to recognize the right of the existing video lottery facilities at racetracks in WNY to continue to operate, and the State Gaming Commission will take steps to enforce exclusivity rules.

The Senecas began withholding the money in 2009 after they complained that New York violated the 2002 compact by allowing gaming machines at Western New York racetracks that were located inside the Seneca's exclusive gaming zone.

The lack of payments had a huge impact on Niagara Falls and Salamanca which found themselves with severe financial problems.