NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (AP) – The State of New York on Wednesday announced an agreement with the Seneca Indian Nation aimed at opening gambling casinos in Niagara Falls and Buffalo.
”These casinos will provide a major boost to the economy of western New York by allowing us to compete with our Canadian neighbours,” Goverbor George Pataki said.
The Niagara Falls casino, proposed for the Niagara Falls Convention Center, was expected to open by April, 2002 with the Buffalo casino to follow, Pataki said.
There are three additional steps that need to be taken before the casinos can open, Pataki said, including a referendum by the Seneca Nation of Indians membership, state legislation, which he said was being introduced late Wednesday, and federal approval of the sites.
But both the governor and Seneca president Cyrus Schindler said they were confident the conditions would be met.
Pataki and the state legislature have been under heavy pressure from business interests to bring casino gambling to the Niagara Falls-Buffalo area in the wake of a highly successful casino that opened several years ago in Niagara Falls, Ont.
New York already has two native-owned casinos operating in the state – the Oneida’s Turning Stone casino in Verona in central New York and a Mohawk facility in northern New York near the Canadian border. More about Situs Judi Slot Online Terpercaya
The Seneca’s referendum was expected to be completed by the end of July.
The nation gave preliminary approval Wednesday.
It also needs approval from the U.S. Department of the Interior to put the casino land into trust, making them Seneca lands.
Under the proposed 14-year agreement, the state would get a portion of the proceeds from electronic games like slot machines.
Pataki and Schindler said the land claim lawsuits the Senecas have pending against the state weren’t discussed during the casino negotiations.