A federal appeals court has confirmed that the Seneca Nation owes the state of New York casino revenue payments. The decision on the case dates back to 2019 when a judge from the US District Court ruled that the Indian tribe had to pay New York State casino revenue of more than $255 million as part of the 2002 compact with the state.
Two years ago, the District Court issued a decision in favor of the panel, which in April 2019 ruled that the Native American tribe had violated their part of the revenue-sharing agreement with the New York State. Earlier this week, the Federal Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court’s 2019 decision following an appeal filed by the Seneca Nation.
According to court documents, the Indian tribe argued that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was openly disregarded by the arbitration panel majority and the confirmation of the initial court ruling was a mistake. The Seneca Nation of Indians also claims that the District Court erred when refusing to refer the matter to the Department of the Interior. The US Court of Appeals, however, affirmed the ruling of the District Court.
Local Communities Welcome Federal Court of Appeals’ Ruling
Robert Mujica, Budget Director of New York, revealed that the state is supposed to receive about $435 million. The state received over $1.4 billion in payments for the first 14 years of the agreement. In 2017, Governor Andrew Cuomo was informed by the President of Seneca Nation, Todd Gates, that the Indian tribe would no longer make payments to the state after the one covering the final quarter of 2016.
When approached for a comment by local media, the Seneca nation responded that it is reviewing the Appeal’s Court ruling and discussing all of the possible options for the time being.
The Mayor of the city of Buffalo, Byron Brown, released a statement saying he was pleased with the affirmative ruling of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that the Seneca Nation is obliged by the aforementioned revenue-sharing agreement and has to carry out the transactions it had promised to make to the State of New York at the time when the deal was made. Mr. Brown explained that under the provisions of the agreement, a significant share of the owned amount was supposed to be brought to the City of Buffalo.
Local communities have been glad to learn the affirmative ruling of the US Court of Appeals. The Mayor of Niagara Falls, Robert Restaino, has told a local media hub that the funding it could get from the Seneca Nation would help it deal with the consequences of a difficult year. The money it could receive as a result of the Native American nation’s deal with the state of New York would also help it plan some activities and programs for the future.