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Oneida Indians and New York Governor Cuomo agree on casino deal

After years of wrangling, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Oneida Indians have finally reached a mutually acceptable casino deal

SymClub
Apr 8, 2024
2 min read
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Oneida Indians and New York Governor Cuomo agree on casino deal

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo seeks to expand casino gambling in the state. The Oneida Indian Nation has long wanted to resolve its land ownership issues and build a new casino in the heart of New York City. There couldn't be a more perfect match.

The Oneida Indians have now signed an agreement with the governor and local government of Como that guarantees the tribe's exclusive territory for the new casino project. Under the agreement, the Oneida Indians must pay annual revenues to the state and pay some one-time fees to local governments.

final agreement

The Oneida Nation has been embroiled in disputes with cities and counties across New York state for years. The relationship has cast a pall over central New York as tribal landowners and local governments complain that the Oneida Indians deprive local and state revenue.

"This is one of the truly ongoing, simmering negative situations in the state," Governor Cuomo said at a recent signing ceremony. “It’s great to finally be able to process and process all these years of emotion and disappointment.”

Both parties make concessions

The most important aspect of the deal is that the Oneida family is guaranteed that there will be no other casinos in a large swath of Central New York — either Native American-owned or part of a potential expansion of casino gambling in the state. In return, the Oneida family agreed to transfer no more than 25,000 acres of land into the trust. This would resolve the tribe's land claims because, in return, counties that took legal action over those claims would drop their lawsuits.

The Oneida family also had to make many concessions financially. For example, they agreed that cigarette prices on their land would be comparable to those at non-Indian dealers — a point that would disappoint many smokers who travel to the Oneida Indians to take advantage of lower prices there. The tribe also agreed to pay the state approximately $50 million annually in revenue, including 25 percent of all slot machine revenue at the existing Turning Stone Casino.

About a quarter of that revenue ends up going to Oneida County government, where Turning Stone Casino is located. Madison County, which borders Oneida County, will receive an $11 million one-time tax refund to resolve the county's tax claims against the Oneida couple.

Waiting for approval

The deal now only requires approval from federal and regional parliaments, as well as the attorney general and interior ministry. If all parties approve the deal, the casino agreement would remain in effect even if voters choose not to approve the statewide casino expansion. Voters could reportedly hold a referendum as early as November on a state constitutional amendment that would allow three "Las Vegas-style" casino resorts to open in New York state.

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Source: www.casino.org

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