“Secret” Rochester Casino Deal Between Governor Hochul, Seneca Nation Stalls as Assembly Blocks Bill

  • New York legislature came close to approving the bill, which included a Seneca casino
  • Questions forced Hochul’s camp to admit casino plans in the NDA-protected bill
  • Rochester City Council wrote Hochul Monday to stop talks about a Rochester casino
Kathy Hochul
The legal camps of New York Governor Kathy Hochul and the Seneca Nation will likely need to work another deal to get a Rochester casino after a leak exposed the pair’s secretive bill. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Governor Kathy Hochul’s administration and the Seneca Nation came close to having New York state sanction a bill that would have given the tribe the right to build a casino in Rochester, only for state lawmakers to raise the alarm about the two parties’ “secret” deal.

a non-disclosure clause ensuring the contents of the bill were a mystery

The Hochul and Seneca bill came into the legislative session late with pressure to get it passed. On Friday, the Senate duly obliged with a 62-1 vote. The lawmakers, however, had no idea what they had voted in favor of, with a non-disclosure clause ensuring the contents of the bill were a mystery.

Until a leak emerged in Albany on Friday evening about a secret deal. Pressure from state’s powerful Hotel and Gaming Trades Council and the Rochester delegation late into the evening led Hochul’s office to admit plans to allow a Seneca casino was, indeed, in the Senate-approved bill.

On Saturday, the Assembly refused to pass the bill. The Rochester City Council sent a letter to Hochul on Monday asking her to “halt any conversation about a downtown Rochester casino.”

Rochester Mayor Malik Evans, meanwhile, also condemned the bill, stating “there are already numerous casinos in the Rochester area.” According to Buffalo News, this means that despite being in so close to having the casino approved on Friday, the Hochul and Seneca camps will now likely have to rethink their casino deal knowing the state legislature will need to be involved.

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