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Governor explains plans for future Upstate casinos

Governor Andrew Cuomo doesn't want any more casinos in Western New York and is apparently trying to make peace with the Seneca Nation of Indians. One day after deliver his State of the State message, the governor called for approval of a constitutional amendment allowing up to seven more casinos somewhere in Upstate.  

Cuomo wants three more immediately if voters approve changing the State Constitution in November, none of which would be in New York City and probably none in Western New York.

The governor is involved in a tangled arbitration with the Seneca Nation with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake since the nation isn't paying the state its share of gaming revenues, arguing New York is violating the casino compact by allowing racinos to host gambling.

During a news conference Thursday, the governor suggests they may have a point.

"I believe the racinos are basically casinos anyway. That's how they hold themselves out and represent themselves," said Governor Cuomo.

The Seneca refusal to pay the local share is driving both Niagara Falls and Salamanca into ever deeper fiscal turmoil.

Asked about putting more casinos in Western New York, Cuomo suggested that won't happen because of exclusivity rules in the casino compact.

"We're in arbitration on those agreements and we would honor legal agreements that are in good standing," said Governor Cuomo.

Seneca Nation president Barry Snyder did not return a phone call to WBFO News about the governor's casino comments and the State of the State proposals.


Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.