3rd legal fight over Buffalo Creek Casino
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April 3, 2009
BUFFALO - A consortium of casino opponents have filed their third lawsuit in
U.S. District Court in an attempt to shut down the Buffalo Creek Casino. They
allege the casino site is not on sovereign Indian territory, and even if it is
sovereign, gaming is illegal there.
The lawsuit names President Barack Obama, Ken Salazar, U.S. Secretary of the
Interior, and Philip Hogen, National Indian Gaming Commission chairman. The
Seneca Nation of Indians and its Seneca Gaming Corp.
affiliate are not listed as defendants.
"Why do we need a third lawsuit?" asked Albany attorney Cornelius Murray,
counsel for the lead plaintiffs "Citizens for a Better Buffalo". "This could be
the final lawsuit to close all the legal loopholes that the Seneca Indians tried
to sneak through."
The suit follows a January ruling by the National Indian Gaming Commission that
upheld the Senecas rights to operate the casino. Last year U.S.
District Court Judge William Skretny said the land is sovereign territory, but
the NIGC's approval of the casino was "arbitrary and capricious."
Skretny ordered the casino closed, but the NIGC has allowed the casino gaming to
Seneca Gaming began construction on a $333 million permanent casino and hotel on
the site, but stopped the project last August due to a weakened economy.
Buffalo Creek Casino is one of three Seneca Gaming operates in the region under
the terms of a 2002 gaming compact with the state. The others are the Seneca
Niagara Casino & Hotel in Niagara Falls and Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel in
Return to New York Casinos.