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Politics

Native American John Kane skeptical of state-run casinos

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A week from Tuesday, voters across New York State will decide on a proposed amendment to authorize up to seven casinos in the state.

If the casino referendum, Proposition Number One, is approved November 5, there will be no new casino in Western New York under a deal between the state and Seneca Nation of Indians.

But as WBFO's Eileen Buckley reports, one Native American says citizens need to take a long, hard look at what a a state-run casino "won't do in your town."

John Kane is host of the radio program Let's Talk Native and a commentator on Native America issues.  Kane is a Mohawk, but lives  on the Seneca Nation Territory.

"There's almost a deafening silence that comes from a lot of the Native Territories," said Kane.

Kane is very skeptical of Governor Cuomo's amendment that authorizing Las Vegas-style casino gaming. 

"They're suggesting that some how there is going to be money generated and come into an area and I'm suggesting that it is only people within a 50-mile radius of these gaming venues that play in these things that is really tantamount to tax taking money out of the area," said Kane.

The gaming proposal promises to create 2,600 new jobs, with a future promise of lowering taxes and providing more school aid.  The state Division of Budget issued report saying casino revenues could create an initial $430 million. But Kane doesn't buy it.

"Somewhere between 40 and 45% of the profit [goes] to Albany, so you take a place like Saratoga...and immediately 45% is going to go to Albany, the black hole of the state coffers," noted Kane.

Kane, who is not a fan of gaming, does defend the right of the Native communities that are part of the industry. But despite exclusivity zones, Kane tells WBFO News he believes state run casinos could "negatively impact" the Senecas and other Native American casino gaming operations in the state.