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.
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.