You can never be too sure when it comes to news of the Seneca Nation and their New York State Slot Machine Revenue Share payout, but it looks like the check has finally cleared.
At an emergency meeting on Monday, the Council of the Seneca Nation voted to directly transfer $564,842,625.20 to cover the amount of shared slot machine revenue owed to New York for the period of January 1, 2017. as of December 31, 2021. The money had been held in a restricted escrow account while the state and nation fought in court and elsewhere over the terms of the gambling pact.
Governor Kathy Hochul said the full amount was received by the state. This is very good news for the communities and organizations in the region who will share the local hospitality funds.
It took a long time and we are more than happy to see it finally resolved, even though it took outside attorneys to get the state to freeze and restrict access to Seneca Nation and his gaming company. The legal maneuver had the effect of preventing the nation and the gaming company from making any transactions.
It’s heavy, but the Seneca Nation had declared an impasse and promised that payments would resume in January. Two months later, the state required two cash payments to the casino, totaling $540 million, to be made by March 16.
This had to end, especially with the current pact expiring at the end of next year. How could negotiations on a new gaming pact begin with overdue payments hanging over everyone’s head?
This week’s news even came with an unexpected twist – Hochul announced that revenue from slot machines will help pay for the construction of the new football stadium for the Buffalo Bills.
“These funds were generated in Western New York, and I’m directing the state’s share of more than $418 million toward the new Buffalo Bills stadium. This will ensure that projects for law remain in New York State and will support 10,000 construction jobs,” the governor said in a statement.
The state is expected to contribute $600 million of the $1.4 billion cost of the new Orchard Park stadium. Erie County will pay an additional $250 million for the project.
All in all, it’s one of the largest public grants ever given to a new NFL stadium — a bargain for the Bills’ billionaire owners. Although we may not like it, there is little political will to challenge Hochul on the plan.
On the bright side, the deal keeps the team in Western New York for decades to come.
While Seneca Nation President Matthew Pagels was furious with Hochul’s plan to tie slot payments to the new stadium, the move makes a lot of sense. Revenue from the game will offset the high cost of building a stadium. We know there will still be a lot of our taxes for the stadium, but that definitely softens the blow.
And yes, that’s right, $400 million could be put to better use statewide — but would it have been put to better use? That seems like the biggest bet.