Gambling Legislation

Controversy emerges over “secret” casino plan in New York

New York is negotiating its compact with the Seneca Nation, but lawmakers aren’t happy

Governor Kathy Hochul of New York is having to spend time putting out political fires. This comes as she has been forced to reassure political adversaries of her non-involvement in the ongoing discussions concerning a casino in the Rochester region between the state and the Seneca Nation.

Hochul, in an interview with the local TV station 13WHAM ABC, emphasized her complete disengagement from any form of talks, arrangements, or deliberations concerning the casino. She further clarified that she willingly distanced herself from the matter to prevent any possibility of negative perceptions. While Hochul may not be directly involved, it is worth noting that certain individuals closely aligned with her play a significant role in these ongoing discussions.

According to public records, state officials and legislators engaged in discussions with the Seneca Nation in search of a renewed tribal gambling treaty. Hochul cited her husband’s role as executive vice president and general counsel at Delaware North, a company based in Buffalo, NY, which collaborates with the Seneca Nation on a multitude of hospitality and gambling initiatives, as her reason for stepping away.

Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong Sr. is seeking to incorporate a sizable casino into Rochester in order to leverage the ongoing discussions regarding its gaming contract. This move would not only prove advantageous for Delaware North, but it would also mark a significant opportunity for the Seneca Nation.

Recent media speculations suggested that Governor Hochul, either directly or through her office, was actively engaged in negotiations with the tribe about the casino. However, the discussions were allegedly kept under tight wraps.

New York faced a challenging journey in establishing its own territory for land-based casinos, enduring years of perseverance and overcoming numerous objections along the way. However, when it came to introducing sports betting, a whole new wave of initial opposition emerged.

The introduction of an additional casino to the world continues to be a contentious political issue, with fears about the potential repercussions of the proposed casino in the region being voiced to lawmakers in Rochester and other areas of the state, as these lawmakers lend their support to one side of the argument.

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