It would be nice if Rochester had a say in all this.
Here’s what’s going on. The Buffalo News reported on secret negotiations between the state and the Senecas over a long-running dispute. The Senecas are mad the state allowed video slot machines at racetracks in Batavia and Farmington, so they’re withholding payments to municipalities where their casinos are located and the state. The payments total $572 million.
Before the Seneca Nation of Indians pays even part of the $572 million it owes the state and local governments in casino revenue-sharing money, it wants the Cuomo administration to make several concessions, including giving it casino development rights in downtown Rochester.
The settlement plan that the Senecas proposed includes rights to develop a casino in downtown Rochester. Former Seneca President Robert Odawi Porter first floated the idea of a Rochester gambling hall in 2011.
Since the federal government backed away from allowing Indian tribes to build off-reservation casinos, it is believed the Senecas want Cuomo to add Rochester to the list of seven possible sites where the state might permit a new casino. The Senecas could then seek to develop a Rochester facility, possibly with a non-Indian partner.
Mayor Tom Richards doesn’t want a casino downtown. If the state allows this, the city loses control. Former Mayor Bill Johnson often said he didn’t want a “sovereign nation” downtown.
Casinos can have a major impact – often negative – on cities and residents. We ought to be in the loop before the state trades our future for cash.
Links of the Day:
– Batavia Downs is undergoing a $25 million expansion. Slots, slots, slots.
– A report alleges Buffalo and Rochester Border Patrol agents get cash and other incentives for arresting immigrants.
– Applying for a pistol permit in Onondaga County? Come back in 2014.
– Syracuse has a big hot dog drama. Investors, including Jim Boeheim and the Oneidas, are suing Hoffman’s over alleged misuse.
– Congratulations to the Wilson High boys swim team. So many city secondary schools have gorgeous pools. Put them to use and teach kids a great life skill and activity.
– Children Awaiting Parents is having a fundraiser and photo contest. Please consider entering to support this great organization! It is called “What Family Means to Me.”