© 2024 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

'The Seneca people are angry' over arbitration ruling on casino revenues

WBFO file photo

New York State's long, contentious relationship with the Seneca Nation appears to have taken another negative turn. On Tuesday, an arbitration panel determined the Nation should resume making casino revenue-sharing payments to the state. "The Seneca people are angry. They can't believe these three judges came up with this decision," said John Kane, host of the radio show "Let's Talk Native."

The prospect of the return of revenue payments is being welcomed by officials in the cities hosting Seneca casinos: Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Salamanca. The lost revenue has hurt municipal treasuries, most notably in Niagara Falls which was forced to deal with a $13 million budget hole in 2018.

The payments stopped in 2017 with Seneca officials claiming they had fulfilled the terms of their 2002 casino compact with the state. Now, Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster is anticipating a windfall, telling WBFO he expects back payments to total $30 million. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown is anticipating $13 million. Mayor Michael Smith says Salamanca has missed out on $9 million.

Kane, however, believes many are missing a larger issue. He contends the state has kept over $1 billion in casino revenues which were NOT shared with the local municipalities.

"If the money doesn't leave the region, it's spent back into the local economy. That's not case," Kane told WBFO.

"The state's position is: You send us the money and we'll let some of it trickle back."


Monday - Friday, 6 a.m. - 10 a.m.

Jay joined Buffalo Toronto Public Media in 2008 and has been local host for NPR's "Morning Edition" ever since. In June, 2022, he was named one of the co-hosts of WBFO's "Buffalo, What's Next."

A graduate of St. Mary's of the Lake School, St. Francis High School and Buffalo State College, Jay has worked most of his professional career in Buffalo. Outside of public media, he continues in longstanding roles as the public address announcer for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League and as play-by-play voice of Canisius College basketball.
Related Content