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Senecas, State Reach Gaming Compact Deal

Surrounded by other Seneca Nation officials in June, President Rickey Armstrong Sr. announces an agreement in principle with New York State on a new casino gaming compact. Photo by M.J. Stafford

IRVING — Seneca Nation officials announced an agreement in principle with New York state on a new 20-year casino gaming compact Wednesday afternoon.

President Rickey Armstrong Sr. made the announcement surrounded by other Seneca officials. “This tentative agreement comes after several months of negotiations, which were at times tense,” he said. “Now, we believe we have a fair path forward. Specific terms of the framework agreed to today will be finalized in the coming days.”

Armstrong continued, “Throughout the negotiations, our focus remained on arriving at a fair deal that secured the future of our gaming operations, the vital funding our operations provide for critical services for our people, and the significant jobs and economic benefits they generate in Western New York. We made it clear that we would not settle for anything less.”

He said Seneca officials “will educate our people on what this tentative agreement entails — and what it means for our future – before we take it to a referendum vote by our people. From there, the final agreement must be reviewed and approved by the Department of Interior before it can go into effect.”

The Seneca Nation’s current gaming compact with the state was signed in 2002 and is set to expire Dec. 9.

According to a handout at Wednesday’s announcement, the Seneca Nation has invested nearly $2 billion to develop three casinos, located in Niagara Falls, Salamanca and Buffalo.

Armstrong concluded, “We have come a long way, as a Nation and as a region, over the last 20 years. We are committing ourselves to finalizing this compact so that we can continue to transform life for the Seneca people and the economy in Western New York for generations to come.”

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