Casino revenue dispute deepens in New York

An audit issued by a state Office reveled that Niagara Falls will run out of money by the end of the year due to the dispute.

US.- The New York Comptroller’s Office issued yesterday an audit that revealed that the City of Niagara Falls is expected to run out of money by the end of the year over the dispute the Seneca Nation regarding the casino revenue that the tribe used to pay to hosting cities.

Niagara Falls has received approximately US$9 million in casino revenue every year since 2014 to fix budget gaps, and the city also spent other US$2.9 million to balance said budget. “Due to the current impasse with the Nation, it is uncertain whether the city will receive any future casino revenue. Therefore, it is imperative that city officials take immediate action to address the city’s fiscal problems,” said auditors in the 17 page report released yesterday.

Earlier this month, Mayor Paul A. Dyster said that whilst the City of Niagara Falls is not in the same financial position as the previous time the Seneca Nation of Indians suspended payments required under the compact to New York state, “we believe we have adequate reserves in place to last over the course of this current dispute.”

Auditors estimate that the city will have approximately US$11 million in casino funds left at the end of 2017 if it doesn’t receive any more money from the tribe, and would be close to running out of cash by the end of next year.

Last week, Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, took a step towards a solution as he demanded a binding arbitration to settle the dispute with the Seneca Nation of indians. The demand for arbitration filed earlier this month detailed that lawyers representing the state said that the tribe has breached the compact.

The tribe has shared more than US$1.5 billion over the last few years, and the decision to stop all casino payments to the state is hurting Albany’s economy as well, which receives approximately US$110 million a year and distributes the money to host communities.

According to tribe officials, they’re acting upon the terms of the compact that they signed in 2002, which established that they had to share 25 percent of the slot machine revenues from the three casinos until the end of 2016.

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Seneca Nation