The U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Monday (2-22-21) that the Seneca Nation is obligated to pay casino compact funding according to NEWS 4 (WIVB-TV).

The ruling was the result of an agreement between New York State and the Seneca Nation stating that only Seneca Nation casinos would operate in New York, but alleged that the Seneca Nation was not paying what they owed for that right of exclusivity.

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According to the details of the lawsuit, Seneca Nation owes around $435 million with nearly $100 million of that earmarked for local governments.

Governor Cuomo’s response to the ruling...

“The court’s decision was clear, and after years of delays, multiple appeals, and multiple court losses, it is high time the Seneca Nation follows the law and pays what they owe,” Cuomo said.

Robert Mujica, Governor Cuomo’s budget director says local communities should expect big payouts after this decision

Mayor Byron Brown also said Monday in a statement, that the City of Buffalo is pleased with the court’s decision also saying that a significant portion of the money owed was earmarked for Buffalo

In 2019 the court ruled in favor of an arbitration panel, stating basically that the Senecas had not fulfilled their share of the revenue sharing agreement.

Monday, the U.S. Appeals Court affirmed the 2019 decision of the district court after the Seneca Nation appealed the previous ruling.

"The Seneca Nation of Indians (the “Nation”) argues that the arbitration panel majority manifestly disregarded the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and the district court erred in confirming the award. Alternatively, the Nation argues that the district court erred in declining to refer the issues raised to the Department of the Interior pursuant to the primary jurisdiction doctrine. We agree with the district court that the dispute was a question of contractual interpretation reserved to the arbitral panel and referral was not necessary. Therefore, we AFFIRM the judgment of the district court," court documents say.

Seneca Nation says they are reviewing the decision and options.

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