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Seneca Nation signs agreement with New York State to begin discussions on new gaming compact

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Posted at 9:40 PM, Jan 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-13 17:49:32-05

IRVING, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Seneca Nation says it has signed an agreement with New York State to begin discussions on a new gaming compact, ending a years-long legal battle with the state.

As part of the agreement, the Seneca Nation will take in $40 million in disputed fees and cost savings over the remaining life of the current agreement, which expires in December 2023.

In 2021, a federal appeals court has affirmed the Seneca Nation must pay casino revenue to the state.

“Our gaming enterprises were developed through the vision, commitment, and historic investment of the Seneca Nation. They are a major economic driver and one of Western New York’s largest private sector employers. They are also a primary source of funding for the important services we deliver to our community,” said Seneca Nation President Matthew Pagels. “Our highest priority, as always, is creating the strongest possible future for the Seneca Nation today and for generations to come. A new Compact agreement, bolstered by greater federal scrutiny as a result of our efforts over the past four years, can ensure greater equity for the Nation, long-term stability for our gaming operations, and continued progress for the Seneca people.”

“Rather than pursue continued legal action, we believe we can now best address our concerns in a Compact with greater clarity on our obligations, and, as important, the obligations New York State has to the Nation in return,” President Pagels said. “Furthermore, we want to see the momentum generated by our investments and operations continue to grow, and we look forward to building on our strong relationships with our neighbors in Niagara Falls, Salamanca and Buffalo. Now is the time to move forward.”

Governor Kathy Hochul issued this statement on the agreement:
"I am pleased to have reached an agreement for the resumption of payments on terms that serve both the State and the Nation and that benefit Western New York communities, and I look forward to beginning discussions toward a new compact."