The Oneida Indian Nation's Turning Stone Casino in Verona, N.Y., is shown on Sunday, June 10, 2007.
ALBANY — The Oneida Indian Nation was granted exclusive casino rights in central New York under a deal struck Thursday that will send 25 percent of slot revenue to the state.
The Native American tribe, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the heads of Madison and Oneida counties signed the agreement at the Capitol on Thursday, settling a decades-old land dispute while for the first time sending gambling revenue from Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona to the state.
The state estimates the agreement will bring in about $50 million annually, with a portion of that money heading to both Oneida and Madison counties. The Oneida Indian Nation, meanwhile, will have exclusive casino rights to an area stretching from Syracuse to west of Albany as the Cuomo administration pushes a plan to allow three non-Indian casinos upstate.
“This was one of the truly lingering festering negative situations in this state,” Cuomo said before signing the deal. “It was about litigation. It was about disharmony. It was about discord. To finally come to terms and work through all of those years of emotion and disappointment was extraordinary.”
The new agreement makes major changes to a deal first struck 20 years ago by Cuomo's father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo. The 1993 agreement allowed the Oneidas to open the Turning Stone facility, but did not include an exclusivity agreement or any revenue sharing with the state.
The new deal will not be dependent on Andrew Cuomo's push to change the state’s constitution to allow for non-Indian casinos, Cuomo said. Negotiations between Cuomo and the Legislature continue on a plan to site the casinos, but it would also need to be approved by a vote of the public.