Tonawanda News

Local News

July 31, 2013

Cuomo expected to sign over casino cash

Tonawanda News — Gov. Andrew Cuomo is scheduled to visit Niagara Falls today, apparently to formally announce the delivery of casino revenue to the state and the city.

Although Cuomo’s office did not issue a formal release about the visit, multiple local officials confirmed that the governor will participate in an event at 10 a.m. at Seneca Niagara Events Center inside Seneca Niagara Casino.

Those officials indicated that Cuomo is expected to discuss the delivery of casino cash from the Senecas to the state and, by extension, to the city.

In June, Cuomo joined Seneca Nation of Indians President Barry Snyder and other elected officials in and around the Falls in announcing an end to a four-year dispute that resulted in the tribe withholding tens of millions of dollars in gaming revenue from the state and, by extension, the city of Niagara Falls and other local host communities.

The city of Niagara Falls is owed roughly $89 million in casino funds to date.

On Tuesday, Cuomo formally announced the signing of the Upstate NY Gaming Economic Development Act, a new law that, pending approval of a public referendum this fall, would establish four destination gaming resorts in upstate New York. Cuomo hailed the proposed plan for gaming expansion in New York as a way to boost education aid for the state while boosting the local economies for tourism areas.

Among the components of the plan is the reaffirmation of exclusive Class III gaming rights for various Native American tribes, including the Seneca Nation in Western New York.

“Our focus has been to bring jobs and boost local economies in Upstate New York, where decades of decline have taken their toll in our communities,” Cuomo said. “This new law brings the state one step closer to establishing world-class destination gaming resorts that will attract tourists to Upstate New York and support thousands of good-paying jobs as well as new revenue for local businesses. For too many years, gaming revenue has left New York four our neighboring states. Today, we are putting New York state in a position to have those dollars spent here in our communities, which will benefit our local economies and tourism industries, as well as support education and property tax relief.”

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