Seneca Niagara Casino may face security crises

Currently, the Seneca Niagara Casino does not pay for police, according to Niagara Falls chief.

US.- Since Seneca Niagara Casino in downtown Niagara Falls sits on sovereign land, the nation does not pay property taxes.

However, Niagara Falls Police has provided the casino with free police protection for the past three years, according to Superintendent E. Bryan DalPorto. The police department responds to calls at the casino between three to 10 times every day.

DalPorto said it would be difficult to put a number on what it costs the police department to handle calls at the casino.  The chief explained that to effectively police the casino, the department would need roughly between six and 10 full-time officers for 24-hour, seven-day-a-week coverage.

It used to be a US$17 million annual contract with New York State Police to pay for officers on the gaming floor at the casino, but state police walked away when the Seneca Nation stopped paying.

Seneca Niagara leaders has not released any comments on the current status of negotiations with the state, but in a state public hearing in 2011, then Seneca Nation President Robert Odawi Porter described “unsupported and exorbitant charges” by the state police. He added that the nation denied paying these charges for years.

As a result, the costs have fallen on the shoulders of Niagara Falls Department. “They are essentially getting what they got from the state police, 17 officers and a supervisor, for free,” said DalPorto.