Gov. Andrew Cuomo spent Wednesday traveling to three western New York cities to deliver gambling revenue that was withheld by the Seneca Nation of Indians during a four-year dispute with the state. Cuomo and Seneca Nation President Barry Snyder, Sr. handed out a total of nearly $140 million to Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Salamanca.
While in Niagara Falls, Cuomo said these back payments will be very helpful to those local governments.
"Well, if you take Niagara Falls, which has had serious issues for many many years and has a struggling economy - as does much of western New York, as does much of upstate New York- this money is all the money in the world. And this was a major source of revenue that they counted on," the governor said.
Cuomo and the Senecas announced the agreement last month that the tribe would resume sharing their casino revenues with the state. The tribe suspended the payments in 2009. In return, the state is promising the Seneca Nation exclusive gaming rights in western New York. New York state also entered agreements giving the Oneidas and St. Regis tribes exclusive rights to operate casinos in their regions. Cuomo has proposed opening new state-run casinos in upstate New York, but voters have to approve that plan in November.