Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Opinion

May 19, 2013

HOPKINS: Cuomo's Oneida deal not so great

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — There was big news from Albany last week when Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a casino agreement had been reached with the Oneida Indian Nation. Cuomo and Ray Halbritter, an Oneida Indian Nation representative, naturally spoke very positively about the deal.

But, as they say, the devil lies in the details.

Under the agreement, the Oneidas have “exclusive gaming rights” across a wide swath of Central New York. Vernon Downs, three miles away from the Oneida-operated Turning Stone Casino, will still keep its racino, but it will not expand. The Oneidas have dropped land claims that have been in various forms of litigation since the 1970s.

New York state will receive one quarter of the Turning Stone casino’s net revenue from slots, which is expected to net the state $50 million annually. Some of that money will end up – rightly so – in the coffers of Oneida and Madison counties.

The big part of this deal is the Oneidas have agreed to charge prices for cigarettes that are comparable to non-Indian merchants.

I’m not sure who’s fooling who here. Is Gov. Cuomo fooling us or are the Oneidas fooling Cuomo.

Everything in this deal sounds like a win-win situation. The Oneidas get exclusive gaming rights, the state gets $50 million per year and costly litigation connected to land claims comes to an end.

But then there’s the cigarette portion of the agreement. The idea in this portion of the agreement is that the playing field will be leveled for non-Indian merchants, who say they can’t compete against the tax-free Oneidas. Note that the Oneidas will charge prices comparable to non-Indian merchants. That doesn’t mean that they are going to suddenly start paying cigarette taxes to New York state.

Naturally, Cuomo’s administration left out that pesky little detail.

Text Only
Opinion
Featured Ads
Community Events
Photos


Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Front page
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Seasonal Content
Helium debate
Helium
Section Teases

Seasonal Content
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.