Cuomo wants to settle revenue sharing dispute

The administration of New York’s governor wants to settle the dispute with the Seneca Nation of Indians through binding arbitration.

US.- After months of uncertainty regarding the share that casinos pay to hosting cities, Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, has taken 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 late last week 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, 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.

The Senacas insist that Cuomo’s bid for arbitration wasn’t a surprise as he had cancelled meeting scheduled for July and August. Seneca spokesman Philip Pantano said in a statement: “After all, rather than take President Gates’ offer and willingness to meet in person, the governor repeatedly chose insults, attacks and threats through the media.”

Lawyers working for Cuomo said: “The Nation seeks to retain the benefits of the compact, including exclusivity, but not the obligation to pay for them. But the Nation’s position is illogical and has no basis in the compact, in law or otherwise. The Nation cannot pick and choose the terms that are renewed.”

The spokesman for the tribe said that it wasn’t Seneca Nation’s decision to put the issue before an arbitration panel, which calls one person per side to settle the dispute. “The Nation was open to dialogue. Instead, we are now seeing a repeat of the same behavior as when the state previously violated the compact. The Seneca Nation is not intimidated. The Nation will commit its resources to defending the agreement we made, which the state now wishes to disavow,” said Pantano.

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