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Seneca Tribal Leaders Approve Casino Agreement

Cattaraugus Indian Reservation, NY – The decision over the weekend by the Seneca Nation of Indians Tribal Council to approve a gambling agreement with New York State has raised the hopes of supporters for casinos in Buffalo, Niagara Falls and on Seneca land.

According to the Buffalo News, Seneca President Cyrus Schindler will submit the terms to Governor Pataki. He expressed optimism Pataki would accept them but would not say what they are.

The deal still needs the approval of Seneca Nation members through a referendum, which could take place by the end of next month. A series of informational meetings for residents of the Seneca's two reservations will be held prior to the referendum.

The casino agreement must also be approved by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs and the National Indian Gaming Commission.

Local officials have reacted positively to Saturday's news, but continue to express concerns about the amount of money that would be provided to local governments.

Another outstanding issue is union representation at the casinos. The law agreed to by the State Legislature and signed by Governor Pataki last October would allow casino workers to unionize. But some Seneca leaders expressed concerns over that.