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NYS to use portion of casino funds to pay for new Bills' stadium

NY Governor Kathy Hochul says a portion of the casino funds will be used to pay for a new Buffalo Bills stadium.

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Governor Kathy Hochul says a portion of the casino fund that was paid to the state through the gaming compact with the Seneca Nation of Indians will be used toward building a new football stadium for the Buffalo Bills.

The Seneca Nation Council voted Monday to approve the transfer of funds that would allow the Nation to make the $564,842,625.20 payment to the state. This amount covers the period of January 1, 2017-December 31, 2021.

"Since the beginning of my administration, I have been committed to resolving this dispute and securing the funds that State and local governments are owed. The courts have consistently ruled in the State's favor, yet no payments were made. Upon taking office, I sought to negotiate in good faith, and we have met every hurdle. I am pleased to have finally reached a resolution, and the full $564 million has been received by New York. 

"These funds were generated in Western New York, and I am directing the State's share, which is more than $418 million, to the new Buffalo Bills stadium. This will ensure the Bills remain in New York State and support 10,000 construction jobs. The remainder of the funds will go directly to the counties and cities of Western New York and be reinvested to support the local economy and communities.  

"I thank President Pagels and the Nation leadership for fulfilling their commitment to the people of New York." 

The bank accounts for the Seneca Nation were frozen over the weekend at the request of New York State, who had given the Senecas until March 14 to make a payment to the state in agreement with the casino gaming compact. 

The Seneca Nation president said over the weekend, a subpoena served by the state is impacting Seneca Nation and Seneca Gaming Corporation bank accounts, so they could not conduct banking transactions.

“The Seneca Nation simply could not stand by while New York State intentionally attempted to hold the Seneca people and thousands of Western New Yorkers hostage,” said Seneca Nation President Matthew Pagels in a released statement. “The State may think it’s appropriate to force an Elder to go without their diabetes medication or a family, already dealing with the financial impacts of the pandemic, to go without a paycheck. The Seneca Nation won’t let that happen. We will not let New York State strangle the people of Western New York.”

This is the latest move in the long-standing dispute between the two sides over hundreds of millions of dollars in casino revenue, which the state claims the Senecas still owe.

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