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Casino dispute may flare in New York

Andrew Cuomo plans a Niagara Falls project.

AP/File

Andrew Cuomo plans a Niagara Falls project.

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — Governor Andrew Cuomo is reportedly planning to propose a new casino in Niagara Falls, where the state has a long-standing dispute with the Seneca Nation over revenue sharing.

Cuomo’s move could be a way of jump-starting stalled talks over more than $500 million in gambling revenue payments the tribe has withheld in a contract dispute with the state. Or it could be an attempt to bring competition to the tribe’s western New York casino empire.

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The new state Gaming Commission would have to determine that the state’s 2002 casino compact with the Senecas has been breached before a non-Indian casino could be built in Niagara Falls.

In recent years, the Senecas haven’t made payments to the state and localities, saying the state violated the compact by allowing casino-style gambling at racetracks in Hamburg and Batavia.

Cuomo has said he wanted to bring three non-Indian casinos to upstate as a revenue source but he hasn’t specified sites.

For Cuomo’s casino plan to move forward, state lawmakers will have to again pass an amendment to the state’s constitution and voters would have to approve it.

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