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What's going on near Seneca Niagara Casino?

Posted at 6:58 PM, May 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-24 18:58:30-04

There are several questions about what is going on near the Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls.

On Wednesday, new pictures show crews outside, doing some measuring for what they call "future protections."

What we do know is that the Seneca Nation have said they will stop all casino payments to New York State, which would deal a huge blow to Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster tells 7 Eyewitness News that they measured the parking lot entrances here at the casino to assure city residents they aren't helpless. Residents we spoke to are glad to see the city taking action.

In March, the Seneca Nation announced it would be stopping payments previously made to New York State.

According to the Seneca’s, its obligation to pay the State, outlined in the 2002 compact, had ended.

"Those revenues support a number of activities that are important to city government and I want our citizens to know we're going to fight for the right to that revenue," said Mayor Dyster.

Photos were taken on Wednesday of DPW crews measuring the width of the parking lot entrances to the Seneca Niagara Casino.

“Without getting too specific, we also want to make sure here in the City of Niagara Falls people understand we're not helpless. Keeping all options open,” said Mayor Dyster.

The implication in measuring the casino entrances is the city would block or barricade them if they don't get paid. But Mayor Dyster hopes the state and the Seneca’s can reach an agreement before July 1st. Otherwise Niagara Falls will lose out on approximately $4 million dollars this quarter. In fact, it stands to lose $16.2 million a year if an agreement can't be reached.

The spokesman for the Seneca Nation provided this statement:

"Any and all discussions pertaining to the facts of the Compact will occur between the Seneca Nation and New York State. When the Nation's revenue share obligations were coming to an end in late March, the Governor asked President Gates directly if he would be willing to meet. The President said that he would, and continues to stand by that statement. So far, no specific dates have been set nor have any dates been offered by the Governor's office."