Citizens for a Better Buffalo Plan to Challenge Seneca Casino for the Second Time

On July 9, 2007, an organization looking to close down the Seneca Indian Tribe’s brand new casino facility will troop back to federal court this week, confident that they will win the case, according to its lawyers.

The Citizens for a Better Buffalo, which includes Erie, ex U.S. Rep. John LaFalce, business establishment proprietors and others, will state about the lawsuits that the temporary casino facility by the Seneca Indian Tribe are not allowed because it is not built on Indian Sovereign land.

The Seneca Indian Nation opened their temporary Buffalo Creek Casino on July 3, 2007 a day after the National Indian Gaming Commission deemed the off-reservation property of the Seneca Indian Tribe acceptable as a tribal property under the federal Indian gaming regulations.

Critics blasted the decision as erroneous, saying that it will have long term consequences that are not good for Buffalo. LaFalce said that the Seneca Tribe and other federal leaders have misused the Seneca Nation Settlement Act of 1990, which he co-sponsored to allow gambling in Buffalo.

He commented that the Bill only meant to renegotiate the lease agreement with the Seneca Indian Tribe for the land that they are using in Salamanca. A spokesperson for the Seneca Gaming Corporation, the tribe’s gambling arm, made no comment on the matter.

The critics earlier lawsuit failed to push through in January when U.S. District Court Judge, William Skretny, commanded the NIGC to re-assess their 2002 approval of the Seneca Tribe’s gambling ordinance, commenting that the NIGC did not properly examine the Seneca Tribe’s buyout of the land and its compliance with the rules regarding off-reservation gambling casinos, which are considered illegal in New York.

Attorney Joseph Finnerty commented that with the study completed, the organization could move forward to reviewing the findings.

The Seneca Indian Tribe, which manages casinos in Niagara Falls and Salamanca, was allowed to open 3 western New York casino facilities under an agreement back in 2002 with Gov. George Pataki. But the Seneca Indian Tribe must give 18% of their slots revenues to New York for their host communities.