Sources close to Niagara Falls Mayor Bob Restaino tell The Chronicle that his administration ‘generally supports’ a casino compact with the Tuscarora Nation after the Seneca Nation‘s exclusivity agreement with New York State is scheduled to end in 2023.
Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul is also supportive of a compact agreement. Like Restaino, Hochul wants the entire revenue share of that casino’s operation to be remitted directly to the City of Niagara Falls, rather than it being split with the State.
“Kathy and Bob are in complete agreement that any new Indian casino compacts in Niagara Falls must accrue any revenue sharing to the City, not to the State,” the source asserts. “Nobody believes it was a good idea to make the State the main profiteer on the Seneca compact. The State squandered more than one billion dollars, which it promised to invest in economic development projects downtown.”
The Seneca Nation will continue to operate its gaming venue beyond 2023 under any eventuality, as the land is now sovereign. But Seneca Gaming will no longer enjoy the exclusive right to operate slot machines and gaming devices in Western New York — rights that the Nation purchased in its 2002 gaming compact.
If the State were to sell what remains of that exclusivity to the Tuscarora Nation beginning in 2023, it could generate $20 million annually for the City (presuming that the State doesn’t demand a cut). Those cash flows could easily finance a new wastewater treatment plant.