Feedback: Mohawks Make Deal With State Over Casino Payments

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New York and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe have reached a landmark agreement over casino payments to the state.

The tribe has not made payments for the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino to the state since 2010, saying New York didn't keep up its end of the deal by allowing another casino to operate near Plattsburgh.

Under the new agreement, the tribe has agreed to make $30 million worth of back payments to the state.

"Things are looking brighter. I know the counties will be happy," said Chief Paul Thompson of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe.

Of the $30 million payment, 25 percent will be divided between St. Lawrence and Franklin counties, providing $3.75 million to each county which includes the payments to the affected towns in each county.

The Mohawks have also agreed to resume their payment schedule to New York.

The tribe will give 25 percent of future gaming revenues to the state.

Of the future payments from the Mohawks, the state will divide 25 percent of its share between St. Lawrence and Franklin counties.

"This is money that can towards better county and town services and also to reduce property taxes," said St. Lawrence County Chair Jonathan Putney.

The deal comes days after Governor Andrew Cuomo said Native American casinos could soon face competition in their own backyards from three casinos he hopes to bring to upstate New York.
 
Three of the six regions Cuomo is looking at already have Indian casinos.

He said state officials won't try to put a casino near casinos run by tribes in good standing with the state.

Tuesday's deal means the state will not put a casino near the Mohawk's territory.

No new casinos will be built in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, and Warren counties.

Earlier this month, the Oneida Indians struck a deal with the Cuomo administration to guarantee exclusive territory for their central New York casino in exchange for an estimated $50 million in annual payments to the state.
 
A public referendum to change the state's constitution to allow non-Indian casinos could be on the ballot as early as November.

The Plattsburgh casino issue has not been resolved, according to Cuomo.

See news release

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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