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  1. #1
    Senior Member SlotM's Avatar
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    Senecas to appeal ruling to give state $255M in casino profits

    WASHINGTON – The Seneca Nation of Indians on Wednesday said it is asking the U.S. Department of the Interior to review a federal arbitration panel's recent ruling that the tribe owes New York State $255 million in shared casino revenues.
    The arbitration panel ruled last week that the state's compact with the tribe called on it to continue sharing 25 percent of its slot-machine revenues with the state, which the Senecas stopped doing in 2017. The tribe contended that its 2002 compact with the state, which allowed the Senecas to open three casinos, did not specify that the tribe had to keep sharing slot money after the deal's 14th year.
    But the arbitration panel disagreed, saying the compact's language implied that the payments to the state were to continue.
    Now, though, the Senecas are exercising their right under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act to ask the Department of Interior to examine the arbitration panel's ruling to determine if it made the right decision.
    “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.

    The Senecas' appeal is hardly a surprise. The tribe said after the ruling that it would review the decision, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo essentially predicted that the tribe would appeal.
    "They had said they would honor the arbitration decision, and they signed a contract saying they would honor the arbitration decision," Cuomo told The Buffalo News editorial board last week. "What does that mean? Apparently not much."
    The Senecas' 2002 compact with the state gave the tribe exclusive gambling rights in the western part of the state and resulted in the construction of casinos in Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Salamanca. Those facilities now employ about 4,000 people.
    The compact called on the tribe to share slot-machine revenues with the state, and the Senecas said they have sent more than $1 billion to the state since the casinos opened.
    Armstrong said the Seneca Nation had good reasons to appeal a decision that would limit the amount of revenue the tribe gets to keep from its casinos.
    "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," he said.

    Source: Buffalo News


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  2. #2
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    I know the casinos make a lot of money but that sounds like New York is getting an awful lot of money out of the deal. The problem I see is a lot of the states do not spend the money they get wisely.
    The compact with the Indians in Oklahoma is ending at the first of next year. I am so afraid our new Governor will get greedy and demand more money which in turn will make the Indians mad and they will take out the class III machines and only have the class II machines. They don't have to pay Oklahoma for the class II. Our new Governor has already said he will ask for more money. I read they will start negotiating in July which gives them 180 days to get an agreement. I do not want to lose any of our good machines. I think most of my favorite machines are class III. Our new Governor did say he is a very good negotiater. We will see.

  3. #3
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    I've done some research on this topic. The NY people pretty much screwed up on their side.

    The contract listed the percentage of slot revenue paid to the state by number it of year started when the contract was started. It was something like this:

    Year 0 - 5 : X%
    Year 6 - 10 : Y%
    Year 11 - 15 : Z%

    The contract was then agreed to be extended by both parties before Year 15 (2017). However, no extra years were amended to the percentage paid to the state. The state assumed that it will continued to be the Z%. The tribe did not.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bonus Times's Avatar
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    I encourage folks to read the actual decision (link below) before making a decision. As is typically the case, media reports are becoming the least reliable places for information. Journalists have become extremely sloppy and lazy.

    The negotiators for the state were obviously incompetent, but the bottom line is that the Senecas negotiated in bad faith. You can't sit at a negotiating table knowing that the party sitting across from you has a totally different interpretation of the agreement you both are about to sign AND SAY NOTHING. That's what the Senecas did.

    IMO, the Senecas should be happy that the state dropped their demand for penalties and interest. They deserve to pay both for their attempt to pull a fast one.


    https://www.scribd.com/document/3970...al-Final-Award

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bonus Times's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhillySpudd View Post
    The contract was then agreed to be extended by both parties before Year 15 (2017). However, no extra years were amended to the percentage paid to the state. The state assumed that it will continued to be the Z%. The tribe did not.
    That IMO is evidence of the Senecas negotiating in bad faith. The Senecas had an obligation at the table to reveal their interpretation of the payment schedule, and that they planned to stop making payments after year 15.

    The state had made it clear that they expected the payments to continue at the year 15 rate. (That concept happens in contract renewals all the time. Rental leases for example, when extended beyond the original term, continue at the most recent rental rate unless specified otherwise.)

    Instead, the Senecas sandbagged the state and remained silent on the issue until a year after the extension was signed. Some might call it shrewd negotiating, but in contract law, it's a foul.

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