The speaker of the New York State Assembly shared that they were not expecting a proposed new gambling agreement to occur before the Assembly’s members at the time when they come back together on June 20th for the ending of the ongoing legislative session.
On June 16th, some opponents of a proposed casino venue in the area of Rochester, including union and business representatives, activists, state lawmakers and clergy members, gathered at the Liberty Pole downtown. The protest was triggered by recent discussions regarding the Seneca Nation’s new gaming compact, which referred to the future possibility of the establishment of a casino in the area of Rochester.
The last few days have seen anti-casino activists criticize not only the Governor’s Office but also everyone who campaigned in favor of the proposed casino, blaming them to have kept the negotiations with the Seneca Nation private behind closed doors. Anti-gambling campaigners have been blaming the interested parties for the lack of transparency and have also criticized the competent authorities for the lack of accountability and willingness to include local citizens in the process.
The president of the Finger Lakes Horseman’s Association – David Brown – has shared his concern over the potential impact that another casino in the area would have at Farmington-based Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack. According to him, it would be hard for the racetrack to survive or for its business to remain sustainable with the decrease in revenue that a potential casino addition would cause.
Seneca Nation Denies Rumours of Entering a Non-Disclosure Agreement with NY Governor’s Office
Late last week, Rickey Armstrong Sr., President of Seneca Nation issued a statement, saying that the non-committal approach of the Executive Chamber and the New York State Assembly’s decision to put its preference on special interests rather than on the projected benefits of the aforementioned agreement, which he described as “historical”, is simply abominable.
Mr. Armstrong Sr. reminded that the Governor’s Office spent almost a year negotiating the gambling compact and, contract to media reports, neither the Seneca Nation nor the competent authorities entered into a non-disclosure agreement at any point of the talks to prevent the Governor’s Office from negotiating the matter with other officials of the New York State. Apart from that, the Native American tribe’s President noted that for more than two decades, the gaming operations of the tribe have brought billions of dollars in tax revenue for the state and once again begged the New York State Assembly to give the green light to the compact agreement.
As explained in the Seneca Nation’s statement, a decision to not bring the negotiated compact up for a vote would put about 5,000 jobs in Western New York at risk.
A spokesperson for Governor Hochul issued an official response to the Seneca Nation’s statement, saying that the state’s administration was working with representatives of the Native American tribe and New York lawmakers to make sure the two parties reach a fair agreement that serves everyone’s interests and addresses the needs of major stakeholders in the industry.