NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — Despite an arbitration panel's ruling this past week, that the Seneca Nation of Indians owes New York State one-quarter of a billion dollars in lapsed casino payments, some officials in the Western New York cities due to share in that money aren't betting on it coming in right away.
"That's a very good question right now and I'm kind of nervous about that myself," said Niagara Falls City Council Member Kenny Tompkins.
In his most recent statement following the ruling, far from saying the check is in the mail, Seneca Nation President Ricky Armstrong claimed the arbitration panel ruled in complete disregard of federal law, and that the nation is exploring further legal options.
"The only thing that leaves me feeling a little bit better is that the governor has guaranteed us up to $12.3 million," said Tompkins, referring to money the governor pledged to help the City of Niagara Falls in lieu of scheduled casino payments as the dispute dragged on.
“That’s a complicated business, and we hope we don’t have to do that right now,” said Mayor Paul Dyster. “I don’t anticipate a problem with the Seneca making payment.”
Under its gaming compact with New York State, the Seneca send one-quarter of the revenue from the slot machines in their three Western New York Casinos to Albany.
A quarter of that amount is then distributed back to the three cities where those casinos are located in Niagara Falls, Buffalo, and Salamanca
The amount which may be due to each host city remained unclear as of this weekend, according to Dyster, because the amount each receives depends on how much of the revenue was generated at the respective casinos within their boundaries.