New York Tribe Launches Ad Campaign to Criticize Use of Casino Funds

  • The Seneca Nation criticized Gov. Hochul for her plan to use casino funds to help build a stadium
  • The tribe also believes that the governor has a conflict of interest due to her husband’s business
  • The state and Seneca Nation had a long-running dispute over casino revenue share payments
  • Tribe officials handed over $565m of cash revenue share back payments to the state last month
Hand holding a megaphone
The Seneca Nation has launched a new ad campaign criticizing Gov. Huchel’s plans to use casino revenue for a new Buffalo Bills stadium. [Image:]

Questioning Huchel’s plans

New York-based tribe the Seneca Nation has launched an ad campaign to criticize the state government’s use of casino funds. The body is spending tens of thousands of dollars on the radio and television ad campaign, which takes aim at Governor Kathy Hochul for her plan to use Seneca casino revenue to help build a new stadium for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.

plans to use the money to build an NFL stadium

The television ads are focusing only on the Buffalo market, with the radio commercials targeting certain regions of upstate New York. According to the radio commercials, the state government has recently received hundreds of millions of dollars from the tribe and, instead of using these funds to help build hospitals, fix roads, and support education, the governor plans to use the money to build an NFL stadium.

The ads state that the tribe is a fan of football, “but with skyrocketing inflations and stretched budgets, handouts for the NFL which makes billions of dollars in profit every year is the wrong way to use this money.”

A potential conflict

Responding to the news of the funding decision, Seneca Nation President Matthew Pagels said: “In one breath, New York’s hostile and shameless greed was laid for the world to see.”

the governor has a conflict of interest

As reported by Spectrum News 1, another aspect of the tribe’s ad campaign focuses on an ethics complaint levied against Governor Hochul. The ad outlines how the governor has a conflict of interest as her husband is a senior executive in a company partnered with the Bills. As a result, it stands to make millions of dollars through the sale of concessions at the planned stadium.

Responding to the allegations, Hochul confirmed that her husband’s company Delaware North has no role in stadium negotiations. She also affirmed that the business has no guarantee it will continue to work with the Buffalo Bills in the future.

Bad blood remains

The Seneca Nation has a long-running battle with the state over casino revenue payments. The tribe believed that it no longer had to make revenue share payments following the ending of the previous state-tribal compact in 2016, while the state disagreed. After several court rulings and an arbitration panel siding with the state, the tribe agreed earlier this year to finally hand over the payments.

Seneca Nation operates casinos in Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Salamanca. The previous compact saw the Senecas having to pay 25% of slots revenue to the state.

After the tribe missed the state-imposed deadline to hand over the money, the state froze numerous Seneca Nation corporate bank accounts last month. The move resulted in the tribe sending about $565m worth of back payments to the state.

Just a few days after receiving the money from the Senecas, Governor Hochul announced the plan to use the funds for a $600m share in the proposed $1.4bn Bills stadium in her hometown.

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