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Buffalo casino plans in limbo

15 January 2007

BUFFALO, New York – As reported by the Buffalo News: "The Seneca Nation plans to move forward this week with construction of a downtown Buffalo casino, but critics say they don't believe the casino will ever be allowed to open.

"Despite a federal court decision raising questions about the legality of a Buffalo casino, Seneca President Maurice A. John said he is 'confident' the National Indian Gaming Commission will determine that property the nation bought near the city's Cobblestone district can be used for a casino.

"…Seneca said he believes the gaming commission will rule in the Seneca Nation's favor in time to open a temporary casino near HSBC Arena in April. He said he also believes any other legal challenges raised about the casino will be resolved in the nation's favor.

"Richard J. Lippes, one of the attorneys for Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County, disagrees.

"…Cloyce V. Choney, commissioner of the gaming commission, said it is too soon to predict what the commission's determination will be. He added that the process is likely to take months.

"…Choney said he was unaware of U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny's ruling on the casino until a reporter called him to comment. Skretny ruled Friday that the gaming commission acted improperly in late 2002, when it approved a gambling ordinance the Senecas proposed.

"The judge ordered the gaming commission to re-examine the Seneca ordinance and to determine whether the Buffalo property bought by the Senecas can be legally called 'Indian lands' and used for a casino…"

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