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Buffalo Creek Casino gets new federal approval

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January 29, 2009

BUFFALO, NY - The Seneca Indian Nation has received new approval from the federal government to continue operating its Buffalo Creek Casino and to proceed with construction of its new permanent one.

Seneca President Barry E. Snyder Sr. said the National Indian Gaming Commission has approved an amended gaming ordinance with the tribe. "The Seneca Nation is pleased that its Buffalo Creek Casino is endorsed and free to remain open and operating. Construction of its $333 million permanent version will also be free to continue when the Seneca Gaming Corp. determines the time is right."

Snyder continued, "The new Interior Department interpretation promulgated in June clarifies that gaming is permitted on restricted fee land without the need for any specific regulatory approval beyond what the [Seneca] National already secured."

The Seneca Indians are operating the Buffalo Creek Casino in a temporary building and constructing a permanent one. After construction began, U.S. Federal Judge William Skretny ruled the gaming approval from the federal government was "arbitrary and capricious" thus halting the construction.

Now with the affirmation for the U.S. Department of Interior and the National Indian Gaming Commission that the Seneca's have the legal right to build the casino, the tribe will resume construction. No timetable for proceeding has yet been announced.

The tribe has been operating their temporary casino continuously since last summer despite Judge Skretny's ruling.

Those who sued in opposition to the Buffalo Creek Casino are not giving up the fight. "This is no surprise whatsoever," said Joel Rose, Vice Chair of Citizens Against Casino Gambling In Erie County. "The NIGC is not an impartial judicial agency, it is an active advocate within the government for Indian gambling interests," Rose said.

"We still have a motion before the court which asks the judge to require the NIGC to close down the current casino, and/or find its commissioners in contempt for failing to do so as he previously ruled they should."

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