Court approves New York gaming deal with Oneidas, Cayugas win too


federal court has cleared the way for New York's casino gaming agreement to take effect by ruling on a complex series of claims involving land, taxes and casinos.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Lawrence Kahn approves the agreement reached in May of last year between New York State, the Oneida Nation, Madison and Oneida Counties. That agreement settled long standing land and tax disputes. It also led to the statewide referendum that opens the door for non-Indian casinos to be built in five areas across the state.

That initial agreement gave exclusive gaming rights to the Oneida Indian Nation of a 10 county Central New York region. However, in an effort to address objections by the Cayuga Nation of the Oneidas having rights to casino gaming in the Finger Lakes the Oneidas agreed in December of last year to waive rights to the land claimed by the Cayuga Nation as its reservation.

The court ruling today allows the Oneida's waiver to stand. It reserves the right for the Cayuga's to one day build their own casino and it prohibits other non-Indian developers from building a casino on Cayuga land.

Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter issued a statement: "This agreement is a product of the hard work of those like Gov. Andrew Cuomo and county leaders who believed that we have far more to gain when we reject divisiveness and embrace a spirit of collaboration. In advance of today's announcement, we have been making special investments in our enterprises that aim to continue producing the public revenues, job growth and economic development that we have been generating for the last two decades."