Giglio Urges Swift Gaming Pact Talks in Final Political Appeal

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The sun is about to set on the political career of New York Assemblyman Joseph Giglio, but not without him making one last bold appeal. A known confidante of the Seneca Nation, Giglio has made a passionate call to Gov. Kathy Hochul and her Democratic peers to expedite the negotiations over a fresh Class III gaming compact with the Seneca tribe. Hochul’s languid pace of progress on this matter has hit a nerve with the departing legislator.

Having lent his voice to the southwest of the upstate region in the New York Assembly from his District 148 since 2015, Giglio has represented the interests of the Seneca territory – home to three of the nation’s gaming properties. His entreaty to Hochul and Democrats, who hold the reins of the New York State Legislature, is based on building a renewed revenue sharing bridge with the Senecas.

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In a statement, Giglio said, “Seneca Nation Council members confided in me that every time progress seems to be at their doorstep, something or the other causes the talks to go off the rail. If Western New York’s economy were a train, a new gaming compact would be its vital engine.”

For the Senecas, the expiry of their gaming compact in December 2022 warranted some strategic measures. Previously, this pact had granted them the exclusive privilege of slot machines and live dealer table games operations to the west of State Route 14 in Upstate New York. With the expiration, the tribe redirected 25% of its gross slot revenue to an escrow account.

With Giglio hanging up his boots and not intending to run for re-election, his legislative duties are effectively concluded with the State Legislature being adjourned for 2024. The only caveat is the potential call from Gov. Hochul for a special legislative session to greenlight the gaming compact.

Around this time a year ago, a seemingly surprising announcement emerged from the offices of Hochul and the Seneca Nation indicating a tentative compact agreement good for 20 years. The agreement included a trimmed slot tax rate, as well as the go-ahead for a casino in Rochester under the tribe’s management.

However, the new deal hit a wall in the state Assembly, receiving flak from Rochester officials and local lawmakers. They argued for engagement in agreements that involve setting up Las Vegas-style resorts in their locale.

Cut to June 2023, post the proposed deal’s disapproval in the Assembly, negotiations about the compact have since reached a dead end and remain there.

Giglio is adamant that the Senecas deserve a new, fair deal that will ensure the escrow money is guided back to the local towns that are dependent on it. Besides, it will facilitate improved economic forecasting for the tribe.

He added, “It’s time the executive branch negotiating team shakes off their complacency, returns to the negotiation table and resumes discussions that benefit everyone in Western New York, whether they are native or non-native.”

The economic footprint of the Seneca Nation casinos on the Western New York economy exceeds $1 billion annually. The tribe’s casinos and gaming halls provide income to over 6,000 individuals, the majority of whom are non-natives. The outgoing Giglio’s resilient call to action then, in his own words, remains for the “benefit of everyone in Western New York”.