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Senecas and state agree to gaming pact extension

State Gov. Kathy Hochul and Seneca Nation of Indians President Rickey L. Armstrong at the signing.

New York state and the Seneca Nation of Indians are both lauding an extension of the current gaming compact between the two entities.

State Gov. Kathy Hochul and Seneca Nation of Indians President Rickey L. Armstrong, Sr. met in Buffalo and signed the extension that will run through March 31 and will automatically renew unless one of the parties decides not to renew it or a new gaming compact is agreed upon. The terms of the compact are unchanged from before and both sides will be meeting again in the coming weeks to continue negotiations on a long-term compact.

“(Friday), I returned to Buffalo to meet with President Armstrong and memorialize an extension of the current gaming compact to ensure the State and Seneca Nation can continue working towards a long-term resolution,” Hochul said. “With the signing of this agreement, there is important momentum for negotiations around the compact. I remain committed to working with President Armstrong and the Seneca Nation in finalizing an agreement that is fair to all parties, and I look forward to more conversations in the coming weeks and months as we continue to meet.”

Armstrong praised the extension, noting the need to continue discussions. “Under the extension, our three gaming properties will continue to operate without interruption, alleviating any concerns about potential impacts for our thousands of casino employees, which was a priority for the Nation. In our discussions, Governor Hochul has expressed a desire to reset the relationship between our governments. No issue is of greater importance to the economies of Western New York and the Seneca Nation than a fair Compact,” he said. “Tens of thousands of individuals, families and businesses across Western New York are depending on an agreement that secures the significant jobs, business opportunities, and economic benefits the Seneca Nation delivers to the Western New York economy. The short-term extension of our Compact is an important step, but even more important work remains to be done. The Seneca Nation remains committed to negotiating honestly and directly with New York State on a Compact that provides a fair and equitable economic and competitive environment for our gaming operations and the many people who depend on them.”

State Sen. George Borrello also issued a statement on Saturday backing the agreement. “The Seneca Nation is a valued neighbor in Western New York and their gaming facilities and resorts are a major economic driver. This agreement relieves a measure of uncertainty that has increasingly clouded this issue as the expiration date approached.

“I urge the Hochul administration to use this extension productively rather than as an excuse to kick the can down the road. The Governor and her team need to come to the table with a commitment to engaging in good faith negotiations on an agreement that is fair to all parties. That commitment has been lacking in this process up until now.”

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