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Buffalo casino stands on shaky legal ground

The Seneca Nation Gaming Corp. casino – in its new scaled-down digs, surrounded by a surface parking lot – opened on Aug. 27 in downtown Buffalo, complete with fireworks.

We now have an economic sinkhole in the midst of one of the state’s poorest neighborhoods. Nothing good can come of this for the citizens of Buffalo. And I reiterate citizens, because, if the owners of this casino have their way, the nine acres they own will not be subject to the laws to which we citizens of the United States are accustomed. The Senecas view this land as their sovereign territory.

Citizens for a Better Buffalo continues to vigorously pursue the shaky legal ground on which this casino stands. Federal Judge William M. Skretny ruled three times on this casino, twice in favor of the plaintiffs. He took care more than once to say the law is absolutely clear. And then, in his last decision, he made a 180-degree turn from the absolutely clear decision he made in a prior decision.

Citizens for a Better Buffalo, on behalf of the citizens of Buffalo, takes sovereignty seriously. We have no doubt that Congress – in a voice vote with no mention of gambling – never ever had the intention to give away to another nation (as the Senecas describe themselves) land in downtown Buffalo.

The lawsuit continues, now on appeal in the Second Circuit, and we have every hope that it will be successful, because, unlike the casino, the plaintiffs’ interpretation of the law rests on solid ground.

Dianne Bennett

President

Citizens for a Better Buffalo