Governor Andrew Cuomo is making stops today in Niagara Falls, Buffalo, and Salamanca Wednesday to deliver casino revenue payments to three cities where the Seneca Nation operates gaming facilities.
The Senecas withheld payments to the three host municipalities for four years before the state came to an agreement with the tribe in June. The deal allows the Senecas to retain their regional exclusivity rights, at the same time the state is looking to expand casino gaming to non-Indian land Upstate.
Cuomo, speaking this morning in Niagara Falls, says the lengthy hold-up, exacerbated by what he called Albany dysfunction, didn't benefit anyone.
"This disagreement went on for four years. What did the fighting accomplish? What did the conflict accomplish? Niagara Falls wasn't getting any money. The Seneca Nation couldn't plan, they couldn't grow, they couldn't build. We wasted four years," Cuomo sad
Seneca President Barry Snyder handed Cuomo a check for $349 million at this morning's presentation. Cuomo then delivered an $89 million check to Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster, money badly needed for a city that has suffered without the revenue.
"I'm going to leave here now and walk to the bank. I'm going to try to cash that great big check. I've always wondered what happens if you show up at a bank with a great big check, especially a great big check for $89 million" Dyster joked.
Buffalo will receive $15.5 million and Salamanca gets $34.5 million. Under the agreement, the Seneca Nation retains $209 million and New York State and the local governments receive a total of $408 million.