ALBANY – Talk about your mixed signals.
As Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has been turning up the heat on the Seneca Nation of Indians by offering to place three new gambling hall competitors in Western New York, the Cuomo administration has been giving a marketing boost to the tribe’s Niagara Falls casino on the state’s I Love NY website.
The plug had been on the “Things to Do” page on the state’s I Love NY website until The Buffalo News inquired about it; it then was taken down.
The site is run by the administration’s economic development agency, and would-be tourists are treated to not one, but two colorful images of the Seneca Niagara gambling hall.
The page flipped between the two photographs showing the west entrance to the casino, complete with its soaring stained glass windows welcoming gamblers into the facility. The Senecas’ Niagara Falls location is the only one of more than a dozen casinos in the state that got its own photographic display on the site, though the Web page does offer a link to other gambling halls.
Ironic might be one word, given the verbal battles that have been soaring back and forth between the Cuomo administration and the Seneca Nation over a $600 million revenue sharing dispute. Cuomo has made a series of rhetorical threats to shake up the tribe’s exclusivity rights to operate full-blown casinos – complete with real slots and table games – in a large area of Western New York, while the tribe has accused the state of breaching the terms of a 2002 compact by allowing new forms of gambling in that exclusivity zone.
So, too, did the Seneca Nation.