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Seneca Nation Seeks Expedited Arbitration Process

Monday, November, 7, 2011

The arbitration process may be expedited in the case of the Seneca Indian Nation, which is currently disputing a payment of more than $300 million to the state of New York. The funds represent profits from the tribe's gambling operations.


At issue is the state's decision to expand gambling within its territory by installing slot machines in locations including racetracks. Robert Odawi Porter, president of the Seneca nation, believes that the state's decision is in violation of a casino compact signed with the tribe almost ten years ago. That compact guaranteed the tribe the exclusive rights to provide gambling activities in the western region of New York State.


Porter also indicated that confidence levels in the state government have declined as the impasse has dragged on and that financial arbitration is the best option at this point, saying "The passage of time has deteriorated the nation's willingness to trust the state to work out these disputes. The clearest way to resolve it at this point is to arbitrate."


Expedited Arbitration Process May Help State Budget Picture


Like many states at this time, New York needs more revenues. According to Howard Glaser, who serves as director of operations for the state, the Seneca's nation decision to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in gambling revenue "has resulted in significant hardships for a number of communities in the state."