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Seneca Nation Requests Federal Review of Compact Amendment

Posted in: News & Announcements

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ALLEGANY TERRITORY, SALAMANCA, N.Y. – Citing the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the Seneca Nation is calling on the United States Department of the Interior to review a Compact amendment created by an arbitration panel, in accordance with federal procedure.

“The arbitration panel’s members, instead of interpreting the clear language of the Nation-State Compact, took it upon themselves to effectively and materially amend the agreed upon terms of the Compact, and they did so without regard for federal law and required procedures that govern both the Compact and the amendment process,” said Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong, Sr. “Their ruling creates an obligation on behalf of the Seneca Nation that does not exist in the Compact as it is written, or as was reviewed and deemed approved by the Secretary of Interior in 2002. To allow this amendment to take effect without review by the Department of Interior would undermine the process by which the federal government carries out its trust responsibility to the Seneca Nation, and other sovereign Nations across the country.” 

“The arbitration panel gave New York State, without the benefit of a negotiated agreement, or a review by the Department of Interior, more than a billion dollars in additional payments that they did not bargain for,” President Armstrong added. “We are obligated by federal law to submit such an amendment for review by the Department of Interior.”    

Pursuant to the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which governs Nation-State Compacts, all amendments to Compacts must be reviewed and approved by the Secretary of Interior before they may be lawfully enforced, so that the Secretary of Interior may make a determination whether the amendment is consistent with the IGRA and with the trust obligations of the United States. 

The arbitration panel, despite finding that the Compact contains no provision requiring payments during years 15-21, created additional obligations that were never reviewed or approved by the Department of Interior, thereby  amending the Nation-State Compact and triggering the legal requirement to request Secretarial review.

“The Seneca Nation and the Seneca people deserve to have our agreements with other governments honored and protected, despite repeated and ongoing attempts to ignore, violate, and, in this case, blatantly change the agreements we have made. By exercising our right to request that the Department review the amendment, the Nation leadership is fulfilling our obligation to the Seneca people to always defend our sovereignty and the sanctity of our agreements.”

Since the Seneca Nation began its gaming operations in 2002, the Nation has sent more than $1 Billion in revenue share contributions to Albany. The Seneca Nation has also invested more than $1 Billion to develop its casino properties in Niagara Falls, Salamanca and Buffalo. Today, the Nation’s casino operations employ approximately 4,000 workers, making Seneca Gaming Corporation one of the largest private employers in Western New York.

Seneca Nation Statement on Final Compact Arbitration Ruling

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ALLEGANY TERRITORY, SALAMANCA, N.Y. – The Seneca Nation has issued the following statement in response to a final ruling issued by a three-person arbitration panel stating that the Nation’s slot revenue sharing payment obligation continues beyond Year 14 of its gaming Compact:

“As with the opinion issued earlier this year, two of the three arbitration panel members have determined that an obligation exists for the Nation to continue revenue share payments to the State beyond Year 14 of the Compact. The two panel members arrived at this conclusion despite the fact that no language exists in the Compact to make such a determination,” said Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong, Sr.   

“In making this final ruling, the panel has effectively and materially amended the agreed upon terms of the Compact. It has done so in complete disregard of federal law that governs the Compact and without following the necessary federal procedures for making Compact amendments.”

“Simply put, the Compact is rooted in federal law and amending the Compact requires that proper procedures be followed. A majority of the panel members ignored both of these critical issues.”

“Once we have reviewed and discussed this ruling and our legal rights, we will determine a path forward.”

Since the Seneca Nation began its gaming operations in 2002, the Nation has sent more than $1 Billion in revenue share contributions to Albany. The Seneca Nation has also invested more than $1 Billion to develop its casino properties in Niagara Falls, Salamanca and Buffalo. Today, the Nation’s casino operations employ more than 4,000 workers, making Seneca Gaming Corporation one of the largest private employers in Western New York.

The Seneca Nation Buffalo Farm

Posted in: Seneca Media & Communications Center

Gakwi:yo:h Farms, the Seneca Nation Agricultural Dept. has partnered with the Northeasthern Wildlife Company to start our own buffalo farm. In this footage, 9 more buffalo were released into a temporary hillside field. The buffalo will live on a 100 acre plot in Machias, NY until the Seneca Nation can secure permanent land on territory. Gakwi:yo:h Farm employees will train with the Northeasten Wildlife Company & learn to care for the buffalo until they are ready to be transferred to Seneca Nation territory permanently. There are currently a total of 14 buffalo in the 100 acre field.

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