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Senecas vote to withhold casino payments to state

BUFFALO — The Seneca Nation of Indians has voted to withhold a casino payment to New York, claiming the state has violated terms of a 2001 gambling agreement.

Leaders of the western New York tribe say they will withhold so-called exclusivity payments in the future because state-approved gambling operations in the area threaten existing Seneca casinos. They referred to the Hamburg Casino at the Fairgrounds, Batavia Downs Casino and Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack as examples of state breaches of the compact.

The tribe also cited a judge’s ruling Monday to lift injunctions which had prevented the state from taxing Indian cigarette sales. The state plans to begin tax collections Wednesday.

The Seneca Gaming Corporation has paid the state $707.2 million in slot fees.