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Chronology of Gambling in New York State

Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County

To inform and empower the public to prevent a casino in Erie County.

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Chronology of Gambling in New York State

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  1. Private lotteries for goods were prohibited by NY statute in 1721.

  2. Private lotteries for money prizes were prohibited by law in 1772.

  3. All public or private lotteries for goods or money prizes were prohibited by the Constitution in 1821, and the same prohibitions were re-adopted in the Constitution of 1826.

  4. In 1877, private forms of gambling, such as "bookmaking" and "poolselling" were outlawed (constitutional amendment).

  5. In 1887, the "Ives pool law" allowed seasonal exceptions to the prohibitions from 1877, during the racing season (constitutional amendment).

  6. The Constitution of 1894 absolutely prohibited bookmaking, poolselling and all forms of gambling.

  7. Pari-mutuel betting was allowed in 1939 (constitutional amendment).

  8. In 1957, charitable organizations were permitted to sponsor bingo and similar games (constitutional amendment).

  9. In 1966, an exception was made to permit the state lotteries (constitutional amendment).

  10. In 1975, charitable organizations were permitted to sponsor "Las Vegas" nights (constitutional amendment).

  11. The U.S. Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 authorized Indian Tribes to operate casinos for profit using any game that charities in the state are allowed to run: therefore, casino gambling, without slot machines, is permitted at Indians reservations.

  12. 1993: Cuomo entered into a compact with the Oneida Indian Nation in 1993 with the Oneida Nation of Indians to permit the opening of the Turning Stone casino.

  13. In 1995, both the Senate and Assembly passed a Constitutional amendment to permit casino gambling in several locations in NYS (this was later reversed; see 17, below).

  14. In 1996, the Governor's own study on gambling discovered that "urban casinos" are detrimental.

  15. The results of a ten year replication study, commissioned by the NY Council on Problem Gambling and published in July 1996, found that 7.3% of New Yorkers are problem or compulsive gamblers. New York and Louisiana are tied with the highest percentages in the US.

  16. The National Gambling Impact Study Commission Act of 1996 set up a commission to study the effects of gambling.

  17. On Nov. 11 1996, the Coalition Against Casinos of WNY was formed.

  18. In 1997, the Senate defeated the amendment to permit casinos in NY.

  19. In 1997, there were 8 different state sponsored lottery games, including a highly addictive form of video lottery called "Quick Draw," which is available in bars, restaurants with bars, and neighborhood delis and mini-marts.

  20. In Sept. of 1999, a lawsuit was brought against the Governor for illegally entering into a compact with an Indian Nation to open casinos in NYS.

  21. On (date-to-be-researched), the court found that the Governor broke the law.

  22. In June of 2001, the Governor agreed in principal with some of the Seneca Nation leaders to negotiate a compact to open 3 casinos in WNY. This only affirmed an intent to negotiate a compact.

  23. In October of 2001, The Senate and the Assembly illegally approved the illegal compact with the Seneca Nation. It is illegal and they acted illegally, because the US Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 authorized only casinos with games that charities are allowed to run in that state. These casinos approved by the legislature include games not authorized in NYS. This approval is also illegal by virtue of the fact that it contemplates games on non-reservation land purchased by the Indians.

  24. On May 2, 2002, the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court ruled against the Governor and for the Casino Opposition, in regards to the Oneidas and the Mohawks.

  25. In May 2002, the Seneca Nation passed a referendum approving the compact between the Governor and their leaders. As of this writing, however, (7/4/02), the Governor has delayed signing the "compact". The reason the Governor gives for this delay is that the Seneca version of the compact does not provide for union organizing. Therefore, we can conclude that the "compact" is undefined.

  26. May 6, 2002, CACGEC was officially formed (Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County). Soon afterwards (mid-May) we were joined in this fight by the Citizens for Common Sense.

  27. August 18, 2002: Governor Pataki signed the Seneca Compact with the Seneca Nation of Indians authorizing the SNI to open three class-III gambling casinos in Niagara Falls, Erie County, and on existing reservation territory. In signing the compact, the governor cited an October 2001 law approved by the state Legislature. This law, according to Cornelius Murray "purports to authorize activity that is expressly prohibited under the constitution." Because the State Constitution does not allow casino gambling in New York State, the compact attempted to bypass this constitutional prohibition by allowing the SNI to use the Salamanca Settlement Act to acquire land for casino-development.

  28. October 24, 2002: By neither approving nor disapproving the compact on Oct. 24, Norton allowed the project for three new Indian casinos to go forward, "but only to the extent that its terms comply" with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. (IGRA). In a Nov. 12 letter to New York Gov. George Pataki, Norton explained that she was reluctant to encourage the trend of off-reservation Indian casinos. She complained in a footnote that Interior had no chance to "express its policy views" during New York State's negotiations with the Senecas. She distinguished the Seneca case from others because it was based on a Congressional land settlement act.

  29. December 31, 2002, SNI opens the Niagara Falls casino.

  30. May 1, 2004: SNI open the casino on the Cattaraugus reservation.

  31. April 10, 2004: SNI announce their intention open a casino in Cheetkowaga.

  32. A Cheektowaga organization, "CONCERN", files a lawsuit asserting that an Environmental Impact Study would be required before opening a Cheektowaga casino. A second lawsuit, funded by Buffalo developer Paladino, claimed that the compact said that the casino had to be in the city of Buffalo.

  33. Following unfavorable rulings from Judge Makowski on both lawsuits, the Seneca Nation of Indians announces plans to open a casino in Buffalo.

  34. February 25, 2004: CACGEC presented State Senator Byron Brown with a petition signed by 5000 Erie County residents opposed to an Erie County casino.

  35. October, 2005: Senecas announce purchase of 9 acres in Buffalo's historic Cobblestone District, and write to Sec. of State Gale Norton asking for approval to take the land into trust.(i.e., to make it sovereign territory).

  36. November-December of 2006: Over 800 citizen signatures were sent to Sec. of the Interior Gale Norton protesting the planned casino and asking her to disallow the land-transfer.

  37. December, 2005: Gale N. allows the land transfer to proceed.

  38. December 8, 2005: Casino Developers break ground for the "Buffalo Creek" casino by demolishing historic structures on the 9-acre Cobblestone site.

  39. January 3, 2006: CACGEC and other plaintiffs including State Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, County Legislator Maria Whyte, residents living near the proposed casino site, and other community organizations, file lawsuit "CAGCEC v. Norton" (.pdf file) in Federal Court, in opposition to the proposed Buffalo casino.

  40. January 21, 2006 A second lawsuit, "Scot et al. v. Pataki et al." (.pdf file), in opposition to the casino, is filed in NYS Supreme Court

  41. April 6, 2006: Private Citizen Dan Warren files a third lawsuit in State Court challenging the constitutionality of the Compact: "Warren v. United States of America, et al.". This is a civil action against the United States of America, Governor George E. Pataki, New York State Racing and wagering Board Chair Cheryl Ritchko-Buley, and others.


Our Next Meeting

uesday, August 3, 2010
7:00 pm
Unity Church
1243 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, NY
(lower level—enter from rear of building)

Leaders Go on Record Against Casino Blight

A casino in downtown Buffalo will be a cancer on our community that will cripple the great progress we are making on revitalizing our great city. Casinos have been shown to create more economic problems than they solve, providing false hopes and preying on those who can least afford it. A casino is the last thing that our community needs.

– Hon. Sam Hoyt, Member, NY State Assembly, 144th District

We in the Buffalo community have a rich heritage with members of the American Indian community that we prize. Those promoting the Buffalo casino are deviously seeking to evade the Constitutional prohibition against public gambling by unconsciously using that heritage to foist a very negative gambling operation in our community.

– Hon. Norman E. Joslin, Justice, New York State Supreme Court, retired, & past President, Buffalo Area Council of Churches

A handful of construction jobs cannot possibly be worth the absolutely certain social and economic disaster of a downtown Native American Casino. The wonderful but fragile City of Buffalo deserves so much better. Wake up leaders!

– D. Bruce Johnstone, former Chancellor, State University of New York