Local
9:03 am
Mon February 11, 2013

Senecas express interest in Rochester casino

The Seneca Nation of Indians is looking to Rochester for growing its gaming operation. The idea was raised during negotiations to resolve the revenue sharing dispute between the Senecas and the state.

In exchange for Albany allowing slot machines at racetracks within the Seneca's exclusivity zone, the Gaming Corporation wants the Cuomo Administration to alter the compact to allow a Seneca Casino in Rochester.

The Senecas and the state are in arbitration over the $572 million in revenue sharing payments being withheld because the Senecas say the state violated the compact by allowing slot machines at racetracks.

During a recent stop in Buffalo, Lt. Governor Robert Duffy said he is very familiar with the Senecas' interest in Rochester.

"When I was mayor, I hosted a meeting with then-President Porter and a delegation from the Seneca Nation in my office. We actually took a walk around some areas of the city. They have a strong interest in Rochester and I would say it's much more ancestral. There's really a tie to that region," Duffy said.

So what impact does the former mayor think a casino would have on his native city?  

"On the economic development front there's no one-shot strategy and the governor has said he wants communities to want a casino. He's not going to ever force one on anybody. That would be inappropriate," said Duffy.  

Duffy said he has not had any recent conversations with the Senecas over a casino for Rochester and he said he would defer to that area's elected leaders on the matter.