Seneca settlement means no private casino for Rochester


If the Rochester area gets a casino, it'll be operated by the Seneca Nation.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has submitted a bill to the Legislature that would allow privately-run casinos in New York. His law would establish six districts across upstate with one casino allowed per district, though only three privately run casinos would be bid out for upstate. The legislation would allow tribes with that have gaming compacts with the state and are in good standing to have exclusive casino rights in their districts.

That's where yesterday's announcement by Governor Cuomo's office comes in. A press release said the state and the Seneca Nation of Indians have resolved a dispute over gambling fees and revenues. The Senecas have agreed to pay $408 million, which will be divvied up among the state, Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Salamanca, says the press release. The Seneca Nation has also agreed to pay the state approximately $135 million a year, says the release.

In return, the Senecas will get exclusive rights to operate casinos in the Western Zone, says the press release. That district, as proposed in Cuomo's law, covers Buffalo and Niagara Falls, but also includes Rochester and Canandaigua. In short, the Senecas have exclusive rights to casino gaming in the Rochester metro.

Under the agreement, the Senecas will recognize the rights of horse tracks in the district to have video lottery terminals if they already have them, says the press release.