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Fed Rejects Indian Casino Plan in Cayuga County

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January 7, 2008

CAYUGA COUNTY, NY - The US Secretary of the Interior has denied a proposal from the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe to build a casino at Montezuma in Cayuga County.

In a change of policy the US Interior Department rejected 11 applications from tribes seeking off-reservation casinos. The new policy is based on the commuting distance from a reservation.  Application denials were also sent to the Stockbridge Munsee, who planned a casino in Bridgeville, and the St. Regis Mohawks, who planned a casino at the Monticello Raceway.

"The remote location of the proposed gaming facility may encourage reservation residents to leave the reservation for an extended period to take advantage of the job opportunities created," the department wrote. "The potential departure of a significant number of reservation residents and their families could have serious and far-reaching implications for the remaining tribal community and its continuity as a community."

The Seneca-Cayuga reservation is in Oklahoma but the tribe has ancestral ties to New York.   The distance between the reservation and the casino would be more than 1,500 miles.  According to the letter, that distance would not allow employment opportunities for those living on the reservation, and it may encourage members to leave the reservation to work in New York.  "The potential departure of a signification number of reservation residents and their families could have serious and far-reaching implications for the remaining tribal community and its continuity as a community."

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