Niagara Falls, Canada on casino revenue sharing

Jun 2, 2013

As the Seneca Nation of Indians continues to withhold casino revenues payments from the cities of Niagara Falls and Buffalo in a dispute with New York State -- across the border a casino agreement was hammered out for the Ontario government.  WBFO'S Eileen Buckley talked with the Mayor of Niagara Falls, Canada about a new casino revenue sharing formula.

"The new revenue sharing formula will be based on revenue," said Jim Diodati, Mayor of Niagara Falls, Canada.

Diodati said traditionally his government received a flat rate from casino dollars regardless of how many casinos or how much revenue was earned. 

Niagara Falls would normally earn about $3-millon a year from its two casinos for city hosting fees.  But that's all changed --  now the Canadian mayor says his city stands to gain $15 to $16-million a year under the new funding-formula.

"And it is what we have been asking for for a number of years, and now we are going to be a partner with the casino," said Mayor Diodati.

Jim Diodati, Niagara Falls, Canada
Credit Photo from Jim Diodati's Twitter picture

Under this new revenue plan, the city now has a vested interest in the casinos. 

Casino Niagara and Fallsview Casino earned around $590-million last year.  But mayor Diodati says there  will need to shell out more than $4-million for police costs.  Prior to this new deal -- Ontario Lottery and Gaming foot that bill. 

WBFO News asked the Canadian mayor about the on-going dispute between the Seneca's and state over casino revenue sharing.  Diodati actually wants the Seneca casino to succeed -- despite the cross-border competition.

"Niagara Falls, New York, when it is successful Niagara Falls, Canada benefits and vise versa...We always say we are one city divided by a river," said Diodati.

Mayor Diodati said he is certain at some point the two sides will resolve the dispute . He said Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposal to build new casinos could enhance competition. 

The Seneca's have withheld  more than $70-million from the City of Niagara Falls.