Seneca Nation Calls for Fair Treatment of Native Nations in Proposed iGaming Legislation

New York “ran roughshod” over Compacts with mobile sports betting

ALLEGANY TERRITORY, SALAMANCA, N.Y. – As a renewed effort is underway to expand interactive gaming in New York, the Seneca Nation is demanding that Native Nations within the state be given fair treatment and consideration in any discussions.

Legislation been introduced in the New York State Senate and Assembly that would allow individuals physically located in New York to play video slot games and table games such as blackjack, craps and roulette using their mobile phones and other electronic devices.

“Any discussion of new mobile gaming has to take Native Nations into account,” said Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong, Sr. “We can’t have a repeat of how the state ran roughshod over our Compacts with previous expansions of state-licensed gaming. The state must keep its promises that our Nations will have exclusive rights to pursue gaming within our regions of the state, and any effort to expand mobile gaming must respect that.”

New York legalized mobile sports betting in 2021. Original discussions on that legislation sought to include Native Nations, like the Seneca Nation, which operate gaming facilities. However, the approved plan, pushed by former Governor Andrew Cuomo, expressly excluded Native Nations from any ability to directly participate in the state’s platform. The platform went live in 2022, generating more than $700 million for the state, and leaving Native Nations unable to offer mobile betting options through their own facilities.

The discussions on expanding mobile betting in the state are just the latest evolution of gaming within New York since the Seneca Nation signed its gaming Compact in 2002. Since then, the state authorized the operation of Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) at several gaming facilities and racetracks across the state, including three sites located within the Seneca Nation’s defined exclusivity area; authorized the operation of four commercial casinos across Upstate New York, including a facility located just seven miles outside of the Seneca Nation’s defined exclusivity area; and launched its mobile sports betting platform. The state is also currently in the process of accepting applications for three new commercial casino licenses downstate.

Conversely, the Seneca Nation has, to date, invested nearly $2 Billion to build, operate and expand its three casino properties in Western New York – Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino in Niagara Falls, Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino in Salamanca, and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in downtown Buffalo. Together, the Seneca casinos employ approximately 3,000 workers and support thousands of additional jobs in Western New York through the hundreds of millions of dollars in annual spending with local vendors and suppliers.

“We have seen New York push the continued evolution and expansion of the gaming market seemingly every day for the last 20 years, while our Compact has stood frozen in time,” President Armstrong said. “This latest expansion push in Albany underscores the need for a fair gaming Compact for the Seneca Nation that reflects the dramatic expansions of state-licensed gaming that have taken place around us over the past two decades. We are supporting thousands of jobs, individuals, families and businesses in Western New York that can’t be ignored.”

The Seneca Nation is actively engaged in negotiations with New York State for a new gaming Compact. The current Compact expires in December.