Arbitration panel set for NY, Senecas over casinos
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A three-person panel has been appointed to arbitrate a dispute between the Seneca Indian Nation and New York state that is holding up payment of $460 million in gambling profits to the state and three cities where the tribe has casinos.
The panel will be chaired by former state Court of Appeals Chief Judge Judith Kaye, the Senecas said in a news release Wednesday. Its other members are University of Arkansas Law School Dean Stacy Leeds, chosen by the Senecas, and the state's pick, New York City lawyer Henry Gutman.
The two sides are at an impasse over whether New York state's recent expansion of gambling violates a 2002 compact with the Senecas that allows them to run casinos in Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Salamanca. In return, the tribe must share a percentage of slot machine revenues with the state and host cities.
Seneca leaders stopped payments in 2009, saying New York's approval of slot machines at racetracks and the video game Moxie Mania in bars violated a clause in the compact promising the tribe gambling exclusivity in western New York.
"The nation looks forward to the fair and just resolution of this important matter," Seneca President Robert Odawi Porter said.
The panel is expected to have a preliminary hearing in early October, he said.