A bill to pre-authorize the Governor to sign Seneca Nation gaming compact

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ALBANY, NY – This week New York State lawmakers adjourned session without passing a bill in both houses to pre-authorize the Governor to sign the gaming compact between Seneca Nation of Indians and the State.

“I think we have a long history of ups and downs with our relationships with different tribal nations and any opportunity we can to improve that relationship should be taken. If that means that we’re going to take our time to do it right, then so be it,” said Assembly Member Jonathan Rivera (D-Assembly District 149).

The current compact, which allows Seneca Nation to operate their casinos, is set to expire this upcoming December. The Senate passed a bill nearly two weeks ago, but last Friday Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced the Assembly will not be voting on this legislation.

And that’s exactly what happened. The Assembly wrapped up session Wednesday evening leaving Albany without debating or voting on the Seneca compact bill.

Some lawmakers said the possibility of a new casino in Rochester is one of the roadblocks for this legislation.


“The folks that represent the Rochester area feel very strongly that a new casino there—out of the blue without public input, without any sort of dialogue with the community, it just is a non-starter,” Rivera said.

Holding off a vote on the Seneca compact bill some lawmakers said could influence taking the Rochester casino off the table in negotiations.

“It’s our hope with the opposition that’s been expressed, the bi-partisan opposition I might add, that the Governor’s office will listen. The Governor maybe, that she’s recusing herself as she claims, directs her negotiators ‘no casino in the Rochester Finger Lakes area,’” said Assembly Member Phil Palmesano (R-Corning).

The negotiations between Seneca Nation and the state are ongoing.

Some lawmakers said it’s possible they will have to return to Albany for a special session to vote on this bill.

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