New York – The United States Secretary of the Interior has approved the state's gaming compact with the Seneca Indian Nation...but with some trepedation.
In a letter to Governor George Pataki, Secretary Gale Norton says the revenue-sharing part of the plan streches the limits of The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in ways that Congress never imagined.
The law allow the state to authorize casinos if casino games are already allowed in the state. It doesn't, however, allow the state to require payments from the tribe. States have been able to arrange revenue sharing in cases where the state grants exclusive rights to tribes.
Pataki and the Senecas have justified the revenue-sharing because the Senecas will be the only tribe allowed to open casinos and operate slot machines in Western New York. Two other factions of the Senecas will be allowed to open three casinos as well.
Opponents of the compact say the letter from the U-S Secretary of the Interior shows that she was conflicted in her decision.