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by Gazette staff

Around Saratoga

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Saratoga's region will get a casino

And then there were three.

The Seneca Indian Nation and Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a revenue-sharing deal today that creates an exclusivety zone in Western New York for the tribe’s casinos, limiting the possible placement of three upstate non-Indian casinos under the governor’s proposed siting legislation to the Capital Region, the Southern Tier and the Catskills.

The announcement ends an ongoing disagreement between the state and Senecas, which stems from the introduction of video slots in Western New York. The Senecas then withheld revenue owed the state from its casinos, arguing that the racinos popping up violated their exclusive gambling territory.

Two other New York tribes operating casinos, the Oneida and Mohawk, reached their own revenue-sharing agreements with the state in May, receiving exclusivity zones in Central New York and the North Country respectively.

Under the casino-siting plan introduced by Cuomo, the creation of three exclusivity zones for the Indians ensures that at least one license to operate live-table games will be given to the Capital Region, which includes Saratoga, Fulton, Montgomery, Schenectady and Fulton Counties. This guarantee is regarded as a win for the Saratoga Casino & Raceway, the sole announced competitor in the Capital Region vying for a casino license.

Today’s agreement was a bit surprising, considering that Cuomo recently said he didn’t expect a deal to be reached with the Senecas and that he planned on opening Western New York to a possible non-Indian live-table casino. Additionally, Seneca Nation President Barry E. Snyder accused the governor of negotiating like a “bully.”

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