Seneca Nation President labels New York State’s new gaming compact offer as ‘absurd’ and ‘insulting’

Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong Sr. provided the Seneca people with an update regarding ongoing negotiations with New York state concerning a new gaming compact. According to Armstrong, the progress in these negotiations has not been favorable. He criticized the recent proposals put forth by state negotiators, labeling them as “absurd and an insult to the Seneca Nation.”

Despite the challenges, Armstrong affirmed the commitment of Seneca leaders to reach a fair and just agreement, Olean Times Herald reported.

Following several months of negotiations, the Seneca Nation reached an agreement in principle with New York State for a new 20-year casino gaming compact in June. The existing compact, signed in 2002, is set to expire on December 9 of this year.

“While the state’s negotiators offered and agreed to an important provision to a new agreement, the state Assembly refused to move forward with required legislation to allow the governor to sign an agreement after it met approval by the Seneca People and the Department of the Interior,” Armstrong said in a video message to the Seneca people, as quoted in the report.

Efforts by negotiators to address concerns faced obstacles as Assembly members expressed surprise over a compact provision involving a potential new Seneca casino in Rochester. Additionally, unions representing employees at the Del Lago Resort and Casino, situated near the Seneca gaming exclusivity area in Waterloo, voiced their opposition.

Armstrong stated that both Seneca and state negotiators have reached an agreement to resume compact negotiations during the summer.

According to the report, Seneca officials have engaged in roundtable discussions with community leaders from Salamanca, Niagara Falls, and Buffalo over the recent weeks. The purpose of these discussions was to seek their endorsement for a just and equitable agreement. The report states that the requested support was indeed provided.

The New York State Assembly which wrapped up its 2023 session in June could not find a resolution to the complex situation surrounding the Seneca Nation gaming compact renewal. Lawmakers will not finalize the authorization of the new compact, whose language was approved by the state Senate earlier in the same month.

During their recent meeting earlier this week, Armstrong noted that discussions between Seneca and state negotiators aimed to resume from where they halted in June. He mentioned that while there is alignment on most aspects concerning the compact, the issue of a fair exclusivity value remains unresolved.